Pages of Mourning

Two Dollar Radio. May 2024. 320p. ISBN 9781953387400. pap. $18.95. F
There is no magic in this novel, just realism, despite the protagonist’s name being Aureliano Más II, after one of the central characters in Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Aureliano, a writer on a quest to create “the Great Mexican Novel,” hasn’t seen his mother, Evelina, since she left the family when he was a child; she was never heard from again. Aureliano soon becomes fixated on learning what happened to his mother, so he crisscrosses Mexico to talk to those who met Evelina. During his engaging journey, he uncovers the family business of growing cannabis and competing with the drug cartels. Consumed by this new knowledge as well as still-unanswered questions about his mother, Aureliano falls into in an alcohol-induced haze while Mexico is turned upside down by devastating earthquakes. Aureliano, like the families of the many people who are disappeared in Mexico, never gets closure about his mother’s vanishing, and he begins to ponder the role of magic realism as a means to understanding.
VERDICT Riveting, gripping, and atmospheric, the latest from award-winning, Mexico City-based Morrison (The Wait) takes readers on a whirlwind trip across his homeland. Macondo, the magical utopia of One Hundred Years of Solitude, is an object of desire that remains elusive in Morrison’s gritty tale of violence and love.
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