The Book of Want

Daniel A Olivas, Author
Daniel A. Olivas, Univ. of Arizona, $16.95 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-0-8165-2899-8
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The lives of a Mexican-American family living in Los Angeles unfold in surprising, sometimes delightful ways in Olivas's debut novel (after story collection Anywhere but L.A.). Olivas's approach to the novel resembles his approach to the collection; he resists following characters with regularity or predictability. Conchita, a voluptuous woman in her early 60s with a strong sex drive, glimpses her newly widowed neighbor levitating and falls in love with him; her younger sister, Julieta, is determined to lose the weight she gained over the years caring for her twin boys, now grown and in college; and Manny, Julieta's adoring husband, who runs a camera store with her, has contacted a high school girlfriend only to learn that she has a daughter by him who is incarcerated and eager to meet him. Olivas also follows the sisters' mother, Belén, as a young girl in Mexico, whose supernatural divining gift ties her to a tragic revenge killing. Though Olivas's strands work their discreet charm, many readers will be left wanting more. (Mar.)
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