Sabrina & Corina

Kali Fajardo-Anstine. One World, $27 (224p) ISBN 978-0-525-51129-8
In Fajardo-Anstine’s beautiful debut collection, set largely in Denver, Colo., she dexterously explores what it means to be Latina, indigenous, and female in ways both touching and powerful. In “Sugar Babies,” readers meet sixth grader Sierra, who grows uncomfortable in her home economics class when she is forced to partner with a male student and care for a infant bag of sugar—a “sugar baby.” With a mother who keeps leaving her and her father, Sierra emotionally breaks down when her sugar baby dies, exposing years of pent up anger and grief at her lost mother. In the title story, Corina struggles with the murder of her cousin at the hands of her latest abusive boyfriend, as she, a new cosmetology student, agrees to prepare the body for the family funeral. Fajardo-Anstine’s women also contend with racism, sexism, and loss of cultural identity. In “Sisters,” Doty wants more than just to become a white man’s “little Spanish girl” like her sister aspires to be, choosing instead to explore her attraction to women. In “Ghost Sickness,” a college student, Ana, struggles in a history course that has overwritten the original Navajo and Pueblo people’s history with the history of white, European conquest. These stories are stirring meditations on the lives of Latinas of indigenous ancestry; Fajardo-Anstine’s collection is vividly alive with the love and pain of its characters, while echoing with the spiritual power of their pasts. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 06/26/2019
Release date: 04/02/2019
Genre: Fiction
Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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