Thursday, September 26, 2013
Names on a map by Benjamin Alire Saenz
The Espejo family of El Paso, Texas, is like so many others in America in 1967, trying to make sense of a rapidly escalating war they feel does not concern them. But when the eldest son, Gustavo, a complex and errant rebel, receives a certified letter ordering him to report to basic training, he chooses to flee instead to Mexico. Retreating back to the land of his grandfather—a foreign country to which he is no longer culturally connected—Gustavo sets into motion a series of events that will have catastrophic consequences on the fragile bonds holding the family together.
I cannot say enough times how much I love this author. He is now 3 for 3 for the books I have read of his. Each one is in a different style with a completely different storyline, the only link being they are all set in El Paso, Texas and involve Hispanic families.
The character development in this novel was as superb as ever from this author and, again, I could relate very closely to characters that had absolutely nothing in common with me or my life, ever!
He takes a tragic situation but does not overly glamourise or over dramatize what must have happened to a large number of families of that time.
Despite each chapter being from a different characters voice and each one being of a random length, some very long others just a few sentences, it was very easy to follow each persons story.
If you have not read any of this authors books, please just pick any one up, I am sure it will not disappoint. 5 out of 5.