Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 111: Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

by | Aug 5, 2022 | 2022 Book Reviews, Book Reviews, Wisdom From Kammbia Column | 0 comments

Last year, I read an outstanding short story collection titled Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine.  I had never heard of the author before, but I was looking for some short stories to read and her collection kept coming up. I took a chance, and it was the best short story collection I had read since Charles De Lint’s Dreams Underfoot.

Kali had a debut novel coming out in June of this year. I decided to preorder Woman of Light last December.  I never pre-order books.  However, she was one of two books I preordered on the same day (All The Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel Kay was the other book).  In short, I had been expecting Kali’s debut novel for some time.

Woman of Light tells the story of the Lopez family set in 1930s Denver. It centers on Luz, a young woman trying to navigate through life after her beloved brother, Diego, is forced to leave the home she lives with her aunt, Maria Josie. The novel shifts from the late 1800s to 1930s as it chronicles the Lopez family and the choices they made in order to survive in a turbulent and hostile Denver.

I will admit that I wanted more of the relationship between Luz and Diego. I understand the storytelling choice that Fajardo-Anstine made with Diego, but I have always enjoyed solid brother-sister relationships in fiction.  This relationship could have been explored a lot more.

Fajardo-Anstine did an excellent job of creating solid characters like David, the lecherous lawyer, Avel, the young man who loved Luz, and Maria Josie, the stern and loyal aunt trying to keep her family together.  I connected with those characters and created side stories in my mind for each of them.

Woman of Light is a solid debut novel and I believe Kali Fajardo-Anstine is a writer to watch.  She has written two books that add to the much-needed diversity of contemporary American fiction and this reader and fellow writer is looking forward to read what she writes next.


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