Martita, I Remember You / Martita, te recuerdo

Vintage. Sept. 2021. 128p. tr. from Spanish by Liliana Valenzuela. ISBN 9780593313664. pap. $12.95. F
In this beautiful remembrance of things past, the discovery of a misplaced letter prompts memories of youthful adventures that three friends shared in the City of Light. In this case, Corina recalls her friendship with Martita and Paola during their time together in Paris, exploring cafés, meeting new people (especially other artists and writers), and pursuing their individual dreams. Though it’s been decades since the friends roamed Parisian streets, Corina (Puffina to her friends) rereads all their letters, reliving these luscious moments even as she remains resigned to the reality that her dreams did not come true. In this short work, Cisneros (The House on Mango Street; A House of My Own) draws upon her considerable talents as both a novelist/storyteller and a poet to expertly structure her novella, contrasting the joyful and carefree (or careless) nature of the youthful Puffina with the responsible, mature, almost stoic Corina, who is finishing the laborious task of stripping varnish in the Chicago apartment she shares with her husband, Richard, a man whom she loves but with whom she is not in love
VERDICT This bilingual edition sparkles with life even as it exudes the poignancy and bittersweet reminiscences of the dreams that eventually eluded Corina. Recommended for most fiction collections.
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