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House of Houses
by Pat Mora
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 080707201X, Paperback)Combining poetic language and the traditions of magic realism to paint a vivid portrait of her family, Pat Mora's House of Houses is an unconventional memoir that reads as if every member, death notwithstanding, is in one room talking, laughing, and crying. In a take-off on the Day of the Dead, the story begins with a visit to the cemetery in which all of her deceased relatives come alive to share stories of the family, literally bringing the food to their own funerals. From there the book covers a year in the life of her clan, revealing the personalities and events that Mora herself so desperately yearns to know and understand.
By abandoning the traditional memoir form, Mora allows the reader to meet in person each member of her extended, often eccentric family, learning of their lives firsthand. In this way, the principal actors serve to drive the narrative they helped to create. The people are as rich and elaborate as any fictional characters, including a father who can transform himself into a bird, and a grandmother who, though blind, sees visions of the Virgin Mary. Woven into the story are songs, recipes, and colloquialisms that reveal the family's Mexican heritage and signal the subtle transformations that occur upon moving north to Texas. In the end, Mora's tender touch with language creates an imaginative reunion between past and present, leaving a legacy for future generations.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:16 -0400)
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