Translated by Lisa Dillman
I have to admit, booktube made me buy this one. A couple of months ago, just about every booktuber I follow (a blog post about which will be coming soon …) had read this book, and the vast majority of them were raving about it. And second confession … I adore this cover. So with those two things combined, I had no hope of resisting buying this book.
Maybe I’m just not clever enough, because unfortunately I just didn’t get it. I mean, it’s an engaging story, and the writing/translating is interesting. The main character has some struggles to overcome (I guess that’s putting it mildly!) and I did feel for her. Herrera creates a vivid picture of the grim life of Mexican immigrants crossing the border into the USA, and he sure knows how to write a beautiful sentence. But the whole way through this (very short!) book, I felt like I was missing something … it was almost there but I just couldn’t grab it, and this saddens me because I think I have missed something great. Perhaps this is one for the ‘re-read’ shelf as I think I would get a lot more out of it on a second read.
All this is not to say I hated the book – I didn’t. I enjoyed the story, the characters were well drawn and the writing almost poetic. The translator’s note at the end of the book was very interesting and insightful, and it is clear that Lisa Dillman was diligent in her translation, and did a wonderful job. An author to watch, I think. 3 stars.