Tales from the Town of Widows, “Highly Recommended” by Library Journal

Here is the full review:
“Get ready for a refreshing dip into the waters of a rich imagination with this debut novel, which centers on the lives of 100 contemporary women living in a remote Colombian village called Mariquita. After the village’s men are killed or forced to join a guerrilla group, the women eke out a squalid existence, enduring drought, food shortages, and a flu epidemic. Faced with a hopeless future, they reject the traditional male concept of governance and rebuild an independent, caring community closely connected with nature. Contrasting with the humorous if sometimes disturbing events in the lives of these uncommon women is the hostile world of the village men, who are involved in gruesome warfare and torture. The story of these women touches our deepest emotions and reveals fundamental needs and concerns, such as the vulnerability felt by Rosalba, the town’s new magistrate, after she accepts the love of another woman. This exciting book confirms the idea that our world would be far better off in the caring hands of women—especially the women from Mariquita. Highly recommended. “
Library Journal

» Posted by Santiago, on Mon, December 18, 2006
» category: Press
» Permalink

Tales from the Town of Widows shortlisted by Elle Magazine!

The following review will appear in the January issue of Elle Magazine under their “Shortlist” section:
“From its bravura opening, in which the men of a fictional Colombian mountain town have been marched off to fight in a decades-long guerrilla war, leaving the womenfolk to form a new social order, James Cañón’s brilliant Tales from the Town of Widows has an imaginative reach that encompasses political, philosophical, sexual, religious, and magical realms while it also explores the deeper conflicts between tradition and freedom that underlie this mesmerizing debut novel.”
Lisa Shea, Elle Magazine

» Posted by Santiago, on Thu, December 14, 2006
» category: Press
» Permalink

My Booklist Review is here:

“Start with a broth of magic realism à la Gabriel García Márquez, toss in a soupçon of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, add a twist of the musical play Brigadoon and even some ingredients from the Book of Genesis, and then top off with some borrowings from post-revolutionary France, and you have a first novel that is not a derivative pot of unintegrated elements but an inventively rich stew. The author envisions a village in Colombia as the sad, even tragic victim of civil war when the isolated community is invaded one day by partisan troops, who march off all the men and boys, leaving the women to fend for themselves. As man-less weeks turn into months, a utopian society emerges; the women find roles suitable to their tastes and talents. But, alas, the new society begins to mirror all societies: pettiness and disagreements and out-and-out fights rend the new fabric. The characterizations are drawn as compellingly as the storyline itself, which simply gets increasingly delicious as the pages turn.”
Booklist

» Posted by Santiago, on Tue, December 05, 2006
» category: Press
» Permalink