Friday, March 29, 2019

Sabrina & Corina: Stories -- Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Back in September of 2016 I interviewed Kali Fajardo-Anstine, a writer who had published several  short stories and who hoped to publish her novel-in-progress and a collection of stories.  You can read the interview here on La Bloga at this link.  Two short years later, Fajardo-Anstine celebrates the publication of her short story collection entitled Sabrina & Corina:  Stories (Penguin Random House, April 2, 2019.)  

It was obvious from the interview that this author was serious about her work and that her potential was unlimited.  I could see, although I'd read only one of her stories, that she was a gifted writer with a solid voice that I believed would resonate in many readers' hearts.  

In the interview, Fajardo-Anstine said, "When read together as a collection, I want my stories to create a historical and cultural landscape that is undeniably unique. I want these Chicana characters to feel as real as the lands they inhabit, even if the lands themselves fall victim to mythology. I write about Chicanas in the American West because I want my region represented in a way that feels accurate, the land as I know it -- a populated urban center with skyscrapers, universities, homelessness, and an ongoing cycle of boom and bust. Denver, my Queen City of the Plains."

Sabrina & Corina has been greeted with exceptional praise.  

Sandra Cisneros said, "Here are stories that blaze like wildfires, with characters who made me laugh and broke my heart, believable in everything they said and did. How tragic that American letters hasn’t met these women of the West before, women who were here before America was America. And how tragic that these working-class women haven’t seen themselves in the pages of American lit before. Thank you for honoring their lives, Kali. I welcome them and you.”

Julia Alvarez: "Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s collection of stories, Sabrina & Corina, isn’t just good, it’s masterful storytelling. Fajardo-Anstine is a fearless writer: her women are strong and scarred witnesses of the violations of their homelands, their culture, their bodies; her plots turn and surprise, unerring and organic in their comprehensiveness; her characters break your heart, but you keep on going because you know you are in the hands of a master. (Is this really her first book?)"

Kirkus Reviews
: "Fajardo-Anstine writes with a keen understanding of the power of love even when it’s shot through with imperfections. . . . Fajardo-Anstine takes aim at our country’s social injustices and ills without succumbing to pessimism. The result is a nearly perfect collection of stories that is emotionally wrenching but never without glimmers of resistance and hope.” (starred review)

And in the announcement that Sabrina & Corina was the Tattered Cover Book of the Month for April, Lainie of the Tattered Cover said, "I declare Sabrina & Corina required reading for all Denverites (transplants especially)! You'll find some familiar place names here: Colfax, Cheesman, Central Library, Tacos Jalisco, and the neighborhood formerly known as the Northside, for example. They are the backdrop to Fajardo-Anstine's perspective on the gentrification of the West and the lives of its all but entirely displaced residents. Follow her cast of indigenous Latinas, among them a young girl at home in the shadow of the Sangres, a just-released prisoner, a sex worker, a grandmother on Galapago, and a pair of cousins, one who lives, one who dies, as they grapple with their histories and, often, their Mile High roots. If nothing else, read the title story -- it's haunted me for months!”

The launch for Sabrina & Corina is set for April 5 at 6:30 P.M. at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop, 1515 Race, Denver.  If you plan to attend you must register on the Lighthouse web site at this link  (seating is limited.)  

Congratulations to Kali -- and thank you for this gift of your stories.



Manuel Ramos writes crime fiction.  His latest is The Golden Havana Night (Arte Público Press.)

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