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Antigua and My Life Before
Josefa Ferrer, a famous Chilean singer and star, awakens one morning to read in the Santiago newspaper that her best friend, Violeta, has been involved in a brutal act of violence. Overwhelmed with regret and plagued with guilt for not having foreseen the tragedy, Josefa feels compelled to tell Violeta's life story--one marked by lost ideals, disillusionment, and grief--which is ultimately Josefa's story, too. Through the interwoven lives of these two women, Marcela Serrano explores how the demands of a woman's role as mother, wife, lover, and friend are frequently at odds with her own dreams and aspirations, and how easily the fragile bonds of friendship and family can be strained to the breaking point. For Josefa and Violeta, it is only in Antigua, under the watchful eyes of "the others"--a chorus of female ancestral spirits who testify to the women's defining moments of strength and courage--that Josefa and Violeta will discover that even in the aftermath of violence and betrayal they have control over their destinies and their redemption.
Exquisitely crafted and written in beautiful, lyrical prose, Marcela Serrano's unforgettable novel about friendship, forgiveness, and second chances speaks to every woman who has experienced the wrenching divide between professional ambition and family responsibility, who has been torn between the excitement of illicit passion and the security of marriage, who has craved the thrill of success while yearning for solitude in an often chaotic, invasive world.
- June 18, 2000
Violeta, one of the main characters, has commited murder in order to save her daughter, and her best friend, a famous singer who knows her since they were both children, is entrusted with Violeta's journals. From that point on, Josefa tells the stories of their childhood, the beginning and growth of their friendship, and the circumstances of their marriages and families, in a seamless collection of stories that glide smoothly from Violeta's imprisonment to the two friends' reunion in the small city of Antigua. This is a very, very good book, although some characters can be terribly unnerving with their neuroses and meddling, but overall, this is a perfect book to curl up with during a quiet afternoon.
By S. Martin
- August 2, 2003
I really loved and enjoyed this book. I thought it was a beautiful tribute to Antigua (a city I have very good memories of) and to female friendships in all their complexity. The characters stayed in my mind after I finished the book. I think a good deal of this credit goes to the English translator who was able to capture the beauty and romance of the Spanish language and allowed you to forget that you were reading a translation. If you love poetry, have ever traveled in Latin America, and have a good female friend, you should read this book.
- June 21, 2000
Marcela Serrano is a great writer, she is able to communicate emotions and feelings in a very strong and effectiveness way. When you are reading you can really feel what the characters experience, and at the same time you get to know the reality of south America: great book!
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