cover image Divided Island

Divided Island

Daniela Tarazona, trans. from the Spanish by Lizzie Davis and Kevin Gerry Dunn. Deep Vellum, $16.95 trade paper (180p) ISBN 978-1-64605-314-8

Mexican writer Tarazona’s inventive English-language debut follows an author whose consciousness splits into two separate realities. The break takes place after the unnamed protagonist, who is grieving her mother’s recent death and whose brain feels as if it’s full of stalactites, is found to have abnormal brain rhythms. One version of the woman returns to her daily routine in Mexico City, while the other runs away to a remote island, where she plans to end her life (“It doesn’t matter that you each inhabit a different body,” Tarazona writes. “Conjugations are irrelevant”). Interspersed throughout both narrative strands are dreamlike and at times apocryphal stories about the woman’s mother and grandmother, who practiced yoga together for decades with a powerful swami who might have been a “con man.” While readers may feel disoriented at the outset, the free-flowing, philosophical narrative, expertly translated by Davis and Dunn, builds to a masterful and deeply meaningful conclusion about the woman’s two selves. It’s a triumph of experimentation. (Apr.)