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

by | Oct 22, 2021 | 2021 Book Reviews, Hispanic Heritage Month, Marion's Favorite Books, Marion's Favorites, Marion's Reading Life Blog, Wisdom From Kammbia Column | 0 comments

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.


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