I must just have not been reading the right short stories because ever since I finally got around to How Long Till Black Future Month I have found my gear. Sabrina & Corina is one of the most fantastic story collections you will find out there right now, I fell into this book and never looked to come up for air.
There is something about the way Fajardo-Anstine weaves her stories that makes them feel less separate, if that makes sense. This isn’t a disparate assembly of narratives, this is an author repeating a theme through multiple lenses. These are interludes in lives that are as much the same as they are different. The whole thing flows so darn well and each interlude is exactly as long as it needs to be.
In each of her stories, Fajardo-Anstine speaks through a female narrator of Latin and indigenous descent living in the contemporary American west (usually Denver). There does seem to be some overlap (a mentioned character in one story is the protagonist in another) but this isn’t Love Actually. There’s a lyrical quality to the writing that made reading feel like humming, like there was a song behind it all.
Not that these are light stories. Themes of violence and displacement echo throughout, an utterly unavoidable part of the truth to which the author speaks. They also aren’t all bleak, there is joy alongside the hardship, but just overall beautiful writing. I think this is Fajardo-Anstine’s first book? It really is incredible.