Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mom's Pick: Todos se van

As I walk into my mother's house, she throws a spiral bound notebook at me. "See," she says, "you're not the only one." She's painstakingly copied an excerpt from the book she's reading, "Todos se van" by Wendy Guerra. Mom does her reading in Spanish.

Nacer en Cuba ha sido mimetizarme en esa ausencia del mundo al que nos sometemos. No he aprendido a usar una tarjeta de crédito, no me contestan los cajeros. Un cambio de avión de país puede descontrolarme, dislocarme, dejarme sin aliento. Afuera me siento en peligro, adentro me siento comfortablemente presa.

I see why she copied this particular passage, especially the part about changing planes reducing her to a wreck. Although Guerra is referring to life in Cuba, Mom identifies with the feeling of not being a part of the modern world. Mom has spent the majority of her life here in the United States, but it still feels foreign, like a pair of not-quite-right new shoes that you can never seem to break in. She tells me it is an excellent book, that Guerra writes beautifully. As she reads it, she can't believe what goes on in Cuba, even though she knows its true. In the end, she says I should recommend it. And so, I will.

(As far as I know, it is only available in Spanish.)

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