Stubborn Archivist

Yara Rodrigues Fowler. Mariner, $16.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-358-00608-4
A young Brazilian-British woman finds her footing between cultures in Rodrigues Fowler’s formally ambitious, captivating debut. Raised in the 1990s in South London by a Brazilian mother and English father, the unnamed protagonist catapults from teenage rebellion into first love with Leo, an older classmate, leading to a passionate but problematic relationship. A budding friendship with another woman (also unnamed) at a prestigious British university fractures over a trip to Brazil, where the English friend’s preconceptions are revealed; she “looks pouting sad because nowhere is cheap enough.” By 2014, the narrator has returned to her parents’ home and struggles with a health problem while working as a researcher for TV programs about Brazil. Reflecting on her past as an “eternal guest” in Brazil, and on the experiences of her maternal aunt and grandmother, the narrator opens up to the possibilities of renewed friendships and new love, discovering a self that is articulated not through the projections of others but through her own actions, as when she dances with cousins on a beach. Moving back and forth through time, alternating short prose sections with poems and pauses, and at times switching to Portuguese as the narrator “finds the other words,” Rodrigues Fowler writes frankly and imaginatively of the felicities and difficulties of adolescence and family ties, and of learning “to wrap your life around another person’s life.” This is a powerful debut. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/23/2019
Release date: 07/16/2019
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-0-358-00706-7
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