Dear Great Book Guru, We were able to get together on our porch with family this weekend (everyone fully vaccinated) and – as you might have guessed - conversation quickly turned to books we had read recently. Someone mentioned a new novel about tourism and its effects on communities. It sounded interesting - are you familiar with it? Loving My Family
Dear Loving My Family, Yes - BROTHER, SISTER, MOTHER, EXPLORER by Jamie Figueroa is an amazing first novel. Rafa and Rufina are brother and sister living in an unnamed Latin American country. Their mother Rosalinda has just died and these adult siblings are devastated at their loss - so much so that Rafa is planning suicide. To prevent this, Rufina makes a bargain with him: if they don costumes and perform in the village square for the many visiting tourists, the money they earn will allow them to flee their country for a new life. We are with the pair for three days as they dance and sing for a disparate audience of men and women interested in taking selfies, ogling the couple, romanticizing about their “exotic” lives, seeing their obvious sadness and poverty as “part of the charm.” A stolen wallet that yields only a few dollars, a shaming wife, convention goers who carelessly toss money at the siblings - all make us question what role we might play in this brittle, biting tale of cruel indifference to fellow humans. Highly recommended!