I first came across the title of this book when looking for authors for my Native American Heritage Month bulletin board for my class. My wife read it before me and really liked it. She likes short stories more than I do, but said that there were some really great stories that made reading the whole collection worthwhile.
Even though it’s a collection of short stories, there are common ties amongst them all that adroitly ties them together. The majority of the stories are set in Denver, particularly in the north and west neighborhoods of the city. The first short story is set outside Denver but a character in this story connects Denver to the plot. The Denver settings all deal with the displacement and gentrification of historically Hispanic residents, who are faced with a city that seems to want to displace them.
All the protagonists are women of Hispanic and Indigenous heritage. Not all, but several characters explore this heritage as part of their development. I can’t say how authentic the depiction of women in the text are. There were a variety of different relationships between women as friends and family members as well as with men. It felt that there was an effort to represent different types of women and different roles that women and others have in their lives.
Ms. Fajardo-Anstine writes with a powerful storytelling artistry. There was only one story that didn’t make me think or disappear into the characters, plot, and setting. She tackled complex topics without a heavy-handed, preachy tone. The micro-aggressions against the women for their sex and heritage are done with an authenticity that makes you stop and think. This is an author to keep an eye on. I would certainly read her future works.
I highly recommend this book for a personal read or a book club. There’s a lot to discuss and digest.