The New American

S. & S. May 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781982120726. $26. F
In her debut novel, Three Apples Fell from Heaven, Marcom explored the traumatic aftermath of the Armenian genocide through the imagined thoughts and feelings of those left behind. Here, she pens a poetic reflection on deportation, immigration, and the abstract notion of home. The story follows Emilio, a young Guatemalan American college student who is deported and must make his way back to his family in California. Written in the third person, the narrative unfolds through Emilio’s inner thoughts as he moves with bands of immigrants across the landscape of Mexico. Enduring the endless brutality of the terrain, as well as a recurring cycle of violence at multiple stops along the journey, Emilio finds solidarity with his fellow travelers and begins to dissociate from his long-understood identity as an American. Interwoven into each section of the narrative are his memories of the past and his dreams for the future, which slowly evolve into the singular present.
VERDICT Marcom has penned a lyrical mediation on being and becoming, identity and anonymity, and the ambiguity of place. [See Prepub Alert, 11/4/19.]

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