Umami

Umami

Book - 2016
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Shortlisted for the Best Translated Fiction Book Award, 2017
"Ms. Jufresa: Where the f*#! did you learn to tell a story so well?" --#65533;lvaro Enrigue, award-winning author of Sudden Death

As heard on NPR's Weekend Edition with Scott Simon

It started with a drowning.

Deep in the heart of Mexico City, where five houses cluster around a sun-drenched courtyard, lives Ana, a precocious twelve-year-old who spends her days buried in Agatha Christie novels to forget the mysterious death of her little sister years earlier. Over the summer she decides to plant a milpa in her backyard, and as she digs the ground and plants her seeds, her neighbors in turn delve into their past. The ripple effects of grief, childlessness, illness and displacement saturate their stories, secrets seep out and questions emerge -- Who was my wife? Why did my Mom leave? Can I turn back the clock? And how could a girl who knew how to swim drown?

In prose that is dazzlingly inventive, funny and tender, Laia Jufresa immerses us in the troubled lives of her narrators, deftly unpicking their stories to offer a darkly comic portrait of contemporary Mexico, as whimsical as it is heart-wrenching.
Publisher: London : Oneworld, 2016.
ISBN: 9781780748917
Branch Call Number: FIC Jufre
Characteristics: 273 pages : illustration ; 23 cm

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mclarjh
May 19, 2017

Decent first novel in English by this up and coming author. Perhaps too ambitious; chronology and multiple viewpoints makes the slight story difficult to appreciate; not very Mexican, for example: "mew"; childish sentiments dominate.

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