A good novelist weaves a gripping story out of small details, big emotions and just the right words to transport us into the mind of and emotional terrain of his or her characters. Good writing draws me into tragedy before I know it, and two new releases did just that.
Cynthia Bond is an exquisite voice with a harrowing and painful love story entitled Ruby. In the 1950s in Liberty, Texas, Ruby has suffered abuse beyond imagining. She escaped once-- to New York City in an attempt to find her mother-- but she's pulled back by a family tragedy to the small town where she has been anything but free. The past, the unlikely future, and the struggle to maintain the strength to get away again threaten Ruby’s survival.
The redemptive power of love and Bond’s luminous dialectic prose allows passage to a better place, both for Ruby and the reader. Utterly transfixing and also rough, Ruby marks the debut of a brilliant writer.
The Book of Unknown Americans by Christina Henriquez tells the story of men and women who have come to the U.S. from all over Latin America. She focuses on two families, one who came to the US to get medical treatment for their 15-year-old daughter after she suffered a terrible injury, and the other who came for a better life. Henriquez explores the strength of dreams and the bonds of family and identity, as she gives each character their own rhythm—in voice and spirit.
If you lose yourself in these moving and challenging stories, you’ll come away slightly changed and with restored faith in humanity.