Ximena at the Crossroads

Laura Riesco, Author, Mary G. Berg, Translator White Pine Press (NY) $14 (269p) ISBN 978-1-877727-80-1
Selected as 1994's Best Novel of the Year in Peru, Riesco's North American debut is an intimate, beautifully wrought story of a young girl whose growing consciousness of social injustice during the 1940s coincides with the discovery of her own storytelling powers. The frail only child of wealthy parents, Ximena continually seeks to get beyond the parameters of her narrow existence by reading books. She devours every story she comes across--Indian legends, movie romances, biblical and classical myths--and spies on the grown-ups around her until a strike by Indian workers results in violence, after which Ximena's curiosity leads her into the midst of the revolt. Riesco's prose is luminous, and her rendering of a child's sensibility is remarkably authentic. Ximena is more confused than wise, alternately generous and spoiled, sensitive and cruel. The narrative is rich with the vivid, varied landscape and lore of a country in flux, but its greatest triumph is Ximena herself. (May)
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
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