Tag Archives: Literary Fiction

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 91: Sabrina and Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

I love book cover art. 

I was scrolling through my Goodreads page recently and noticed one of my friends add Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine to their TBR list.  The beautiful cover got my attention, and I bought book the next day.

Sabrina & Corina is the debut book of Kali Fajardo-Anstine and has received a lot of praise since its publication in 2019. Add me to the list of readers that love these eleven powerful and thought-provoking stories featuring Latinas of Indigenous descent as they struggle with acceptance, violence, and broken relationships.

My favorite story of the entire book is Galapago. Galapago tells the story of Pearla Ortiz, a widow, who has an encounter with a man that breaks into her home.  Pearla’s granddaughter, Alana, comes to live with her and wants to sell the house and move her grandmother into senior housing. Pearla refuses to sell for sentimental reasons and one night faces the trespasser with tragic consequences.  Fajardo-Anstine does an excellent job weaving the backstory of Pearla with her husband in their home and the changing aspect of their neighborhood.  The vivid writing captures both widowhood and the dynamics of the neighborhood in transition.  Pearla’s instinct for survival is still on my mind after reading the story a few days later.

There is not a bad story in the book.  Some of my other favorites are Sugar Babies, the story of an eighth-grade girl named Sierra who discovers a dead woman at the edge of a small southern Colorado town named Saguarita. How did the woman get there? What will Sierra and her friend Robbie Martinez find out? Also, she takes part in a class project where she has to turn a 5 lb bag of sugar into a doll and takes care like it is a baby.  Fajardo-Anstine’s lucid prose brings this improbable story to life.

Other favorites are Tomi, Any Further West, and the title story, Sabrina & Corina. Fajardo-Anstine has brought a much-needed perspective to contemporary fiction, and this is the best short story collection by a single author I have read since Charles De Lint’s Dreams Underfoot.  Short stories are the stepchildren of modern fiction, but it’s an art form that deserves more respect and a great way to build up reading muscles.

Bravo Kali Fajardo-Anstine for these powerful stories.  Sabrina & Corina is my second favorite book of the year alongside The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton.

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 88: Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

“And so, by circuitous and unpredictable routes, we converge toward midcontinent and meet in Madison, and are at once drawn together, braided and plaited into a friendship. It is a relationship that has no formal shape, there are no rules or obligations or bonds as in marriage or the family, it is held together by… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 70: Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata

Sometimes in reading a novel for the second time, you will not get the same feeling when you read it previously. This is the case for Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata. Snow Country is considered to being Kawabata’s masterpiece.  And for many reasons, I agree with that assessment. However, as I’m getting older, I realize… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 62: The Ancient Child by N. Scott Momaday

I have shared many times on this blog I read for story, characters, setting, and what an author is trying to say about life. Story is my reading language.  I don’t put down many books once I read them.  However, if there’s no story, I’m out as a reader.  I will admit that I don’t… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 58: Alburquerque by Rudolfo Anaya

One of the great joys of reading fiction is when you get a novel that makes want to read on after you finished it.  There are a lot of novels I have enjoyed reading, but once I close the book or eBook (these days) then I’m done with it.  Well, Alburquerque by Rudolfo Anaya is… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 55: The Wind That Lays Waste by Selva Almada

I finished Women in Translation Month 2020 with reading The Wind That Lays Waste by Argentinian author Selva Almada. The Wind That Lays Waste tells the story of Reverend Pearson and his daughter Leni traveling through the Argentinian countryside.  Their car breaks down and leads them to a shop owned by an old mechanic, Gringo… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 53: The Housekeeper and The Professor by Yoko Ogawa

The Housekeeper and The Professor by Yoko Ogawa is my first read for Women in Translation Month 2020.  It is the story of a single parent housekeeper and her relationship with a former mathematics professor that can not take care of himself after a serious accident a few years prior.  The housekeeper has a ten-year-old… Continue Reading

Women In Translation Month

August is my favorite month of the year.  It’s a birthday month for me and my kids.  I have always looked forward to August and usually the hottest month of the year especially here in South Texas.  However, I want to celebrate my favorite month a little different in 2020.  We are dealing with a… Continue Reading