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The Day of the Moon by Graciela Limon

The Day of the Moon

by Graciela Limon

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Last night I heard Graciela Limón speak about her fiction writing. In response to a question from the audience she cited author Juan Rulfo as one of inspirations. Limón admires his spare prose -- each word chosen for precise effect and meaning. This exactly describes the stylistic power of "The Day of the Moon." It is beautifully concise and laden with meaning.

The tragic story is told from the perspective of multiple characters: Don Flavio Betancourt; his daughter Isadora; Úrsula Santiago,a servant in Don Flavio's house; Brígida Betancourt, Don Flavio's sister; and Alondra, Isadora's daughter. The novel primarily explores issues related to prejudice against Mexicans who are predominantly Indian on the part of Mexicans who are predominantly European. Don Flavio's father was Spanish, but his mother was an Indian from Jalisco. Don Flavio's feelings of shame regarding his mother's indigenous background lead to tragedy, when his daughter falls in love with Jerónimo, a gifted Indian runner known as El Rarámuri.

"The Day of the Moon" is relatively short, but Limón purposely pared her novel down to its essence. She creates believable characters with a few brushstrokes. As she passes the storytelling from character to character, the reader learns a little more. Don Flavio may be the most thoroughly unsympathetic and despicable fictional character I have encountered, but his life is so empty and sad that it's difficult to hate him. ( )
  krbrancolini | Mar 29, 2012 |
In her novel, The Day of the Moon, Graciela Limón writes in a sensitive and engaging style that traces the individual lives of a family with a sensitivity and kinship that demands the same from the reader. This is a novel about the dispiriting shackles of unquestioned allegiance to family and tradition that are burdensome and often tragic, especially for those who wish to break with the past and its restraints.
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Early this century a Mexican wins a lot of money at cards, buys a ranch and enters the world of the upper class. To ensure acceptance he hides his part-Indian origin and hates himself for it.

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