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Itzá Paperback – September 12, 2017
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Pre-order today
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This book surprised me. It frightened me. It even made me laugh a little bit. Most of all though, as a white guy reading this book, Rios de la Luz took me to another world. She told me a story I never would have heard, shared an experience I never would have known. That's what great literature is all about, and it's a gift I cannot thank her enough for.
I absolutely loved this book, one of my favorites of this year (and any year) guaranteed.
This is not for me. This is not for you. This is not for someone who took Spanish in high school (I didn't, I failed French, but still) and thinks that knowing the definition of "mijo", they know it means. It's not for the Facebook feminist or the try-hard that reads books from POC just to say they did. There may be an urge to fetishize. Don't. There may be an urge to amplify only on the basis of ethnicity or trauma. Don't. There may be an urge to praise on a cultural basis alone. Don't. It deserves praise on its own merit. This book is good and it is good because it is good. This is a voice from three times telling us a story. It is a life wrapped in pages.
There may be an urge to treat this as fantasy. Don't. When fists are imagined piercing chests, don't categorise this as fantasy. When nicknames and folkloric language and horror scenes stretch beyond the realm of (what you may consider) reality, don't categorise this as fiction. It isn't. It is real and it is true and it is good. It's a documentary of thought and experiment.
I liked this book. I didn't know I wanted it. I read it in a sitting and will read it again tomorrow. It's exciting to read something that grips me like this. The prose is clean and clear and the author knows how to deploy the occasional "and she was and she was and she was" perfectly. My only "complaint" is that I wish some sentences were longer as the prevalence of short sentences was a little jarring. That's not criticism, that's good writing.
Buy the book. I did and I will buy more from Rios de la Ruz as long as they continue to produce work of the quality they have here.
ITZÁ is about four generations of brujas living in a border town. It is the story of fighting to exist while discovering what that existence is. Aside from being the most relevant and powerful book I've read all year, it is one of the most lyrical and vividly imaginative books I've read, ever.
There is magic in these pages--a magic of language, of imagery, of emotion. There are authors who like to make up stories, and then there are people who are only authors because they have stories trapped inside of them, scratching and screaming to get out. Rios de la Luz is the latter type of author.
The sentimentality of your oldest memories and dreams. The extreme measures you sometimes take to cope with your demons as a child. Fighting strongly as you come of age. Lessons and imprints from the ones you miss the most, and the adoration you experience toward and from them. Deep trauma that will always be a part of you but there is both the fight and the strength to move past it even so. Last, and likely most important, honoring your roots. Itza is not one to be easily forgotten. A standout book for many reasons.