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by Lina Meruane
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There are aspects of this novel that I enjoy, like Meruane's use of time and place ("country of the past" and "country of the present," designations that mean multiple things and that remind me of how I reckon time by which city, state, house I lived in) and the way the world and culture and history manifest within the characters' bodies, but the flow is too disjointed for me to lose myself in the story as I'd have liked.
This book focuses on a young (for most of the book) woman whose mother died during her childbirth. Her older brother has never forgiven her, her stepmother is the only mother she has ever known, and there are younger half-sibling twins. She is working toward a PhD in Astronomy in the (probable?) US. The rest of her family is still in Chile. Her father has financed her studies, but no one else knows this. She lives with her boyfriend who is some sort of archaeologist.
The story has very short sections and bounces around, telling the story. Much has to do with illness--her father and stepmother are doctors. Her brother's broken bones, her own mysterious illness, the many cancers. In between these stories we hear about her dissertation, memories of her childhood, and more.
This was fine--I very much enjoyed the first half more than the second. It got long and tiring and repetitive.
From the celebrated writer Lina Meruane comes an electric novel of systems: those that keep the body alive, those that keep families together, those that govern the world around us and those that spin planets on their axes, out in the cosmic dark.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)863.7 — Literature Spanish and Portuguese Spanish fiction 21st Century
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There's a lot less plot and a lot more ambiguity to this novel than I enjoy. I'm not entirely sure what Meruane was doing here. There were some interesting moments, but far too often, something interesting happened and is brushed aside for something less interesting. I'm glad the Tournament of Books pushed me well out of my comfort zone, but I'm happy to be back in it now that I've read this one. ( )