Here's Nat's nice review from her blog: In Spring It is the Dawn
Thursday, October 29, 2009
'The Road from La Cueva'
This was a beautifully written story of a woman struggling to lead a life of her own choosing, trapped in a marriage by her overbearing, controlling husband but afraid to leave for the sake of their daughter. The story follows Ana as she comes to some realisations about herself and the people around her, and as she essentially learns how to become her own person. The author said in her guest post at Tip of the Iceberg that she “basically used [her] own life as material”, and the story did feel very real and personal. The author is also a poet, and I think that careful wordsmanship comes through very clearly in her prose. There were some wonderful descriptions throughout, as well as some clever metaphors that beautifully express Ana’s struggle to become free.
He ran his fingers around the rim of the cup. “See how this isn’t even? The Japanese call this 'shibui', the flaw that makes something beautiful. The shape has to have some room, some freedom.” …. “Like with people,” he said, and she nodded. As an aside, I loved this quote because I, too, admire the natural, 'flawed' beauty often seen in Japanese pottery. We don't have any really fancy dishes but some of my favourites are the ones that we picked up in Mashiko, one of the areas in Japan famous for pottery, quite a few years ago. Some might consider them rough, and asymmetrical, but I think they're beautiful.
She pictured how he must have looked when he wrote the letter, saw his hands, his chapped, strong, tender hands, as he penned it. … He hadn’t needed to say more. … The words lay cruelly on the thick gray paper. She imagined him planning it while chopping wood or wedging clay, giving his anger back to the earth, to hold for him. He would hold the anger in while he was at work. It would still be waiting for him when he got home. The anger would sleep with him at night, wrapping itself around his heart like the parasitic mistletoe on the juniper trees. It would reveal itself in the pots he made, in crude, squat stoneware heavy with the weight of their emptiness.I thoroughly enjoyed this slim novel and in fact, I would’ve been quite happy if it had been longer, but as it is, it’s a touching story with an important message. Namely, that no matter how we have ended up in a situation, whether through our own poor choices or not, we do have the power to change our circumstances, to escape if needed, if only we can find the strength within ourselves to do so. Truly, a lovely little book.The author is working on her next book, apparently to be set in Canada, and I very much look forward to reading more by Sheila Ortego in the future.For more information on the author or the book, visit Sheila Ortego's blog, and this article in the Huffington Post.Thank you to the author, Sheila Ortego, for the opportunity to read this book.Buy this book at: Amazon.com Amazon.ca Amazon.co.uk BookDepository.co.uk BookDepository.com