Author: Kali Fajardo-Anstine
Published: April 2, 2019
Publisher: One World
Where I picked up my book: My local indie
Key Words: short stories, Latina with indigenous ancestry, Denver/Colorado centric, feminist, heritage
My Rating: 5
This collection was everything I wanted it to be and more! It’s centered around Latina women of indigenous ancestry and that is definitely the shining star in all of these stories and BRAVOOOO for bringing this into the spotlight. It felt refreshing, and I feel honored to have these words.
These stories revolve around women, mostly working class women, who are strong, courageous and determined humans. Their ancestors were here before America was America and I think people (mostly white people) forget this or unfortunately, choose not to care. History books tell us certain stories about the wild West and how America was discovered, but this collection shows us the truth and gives us a lens to see the West from something other than a white person’s gaze. Halle-frigin-lujah. It helps us remember and honor those cultures that were here first-and that makes me feel like I’m holding literal magic in my hands.
There is a depth to each story and always a sense that although things might be tough or hard, or let’s be honest, just real, cause this shit isn’t always easy…but that there is a way to progress and move forward. BUT THEN, add women-centered stories, culture, intimate portrayals, gorgeous sentence structure and storytelling and characters you fall in love with immediately (for both good and bad)-yes please! BUT WAIT, you also get love, atmospheric descriptions where landscape and location plays a main character, thoughts about heritage and what that means, friendship, and family dynamics…screaming. BUT ALSO, most of the narrative takes place in Denver, Colorado (I’m only a short drive from Denver and so many references and places in the stories I could picture) and I nearly screamed with excitement as I frantically flipped pages while soaking it all in. This collection is that good.
These stories are tough, emotional and have a sense of sadness interwoven in each one. So when you read them, don’t expect happy, funny (although I laughed quite a few times), or a lighthearted read. What you need to expect is a connection with characters you may never make again (although I have high hopes we will start to see more of this from authors and from Fajardo-Anstine herself) and a sense that our true history is important and should be honored. This collection will make you laugh, cry, worry, think and ultimately, be a better person. I truly believe in the magic of this book.
Sabrina and Corina is beautiful collection of stories (even the cover is one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen) and I would suggest you run and grab a copy of this book asap. I promise you, you won’t regret it!
P.S. I was lucky enough to meet Kali Fajardo-Anstine last week in Denver and I haven’t come down from the high since. I can’t wait to see what else she has to offer us-I know a book is in the works for sure and I’m thrilled!!!
As always, come find me on Instagram (@bookishfolk)!
Summary (via Penguin Random House):
Latinas of Indigenous descent living in the American West take center stage in this haunting debut story collection—a powerful meditation on friendship, mothers and daughters, and the deep-rooted truths of our homelands.
“Here are stories that blaze like wildfires, with characters who made me laugh and broke my heart.”—Sandra Cisneros
Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s magnetic story collection breathes life into her Latina characters of indigenous ancestry and the land they inhabit in the American West. Against the remarkable backdrop of Denver, Colorado—a place that is as fierce as it is exquisite—these women navigate the land the way they navigate their lives: with caution, grace, and quiet force.
In “Sugar Babies,” ancestry and heritage are hidden inside the earth but tend to rise during land disputes. “Any Further West” follows a sex worker and her daughter as they leave their ancestral home in southern Colorado only to find a foreign and hostile land in California. In “Tomi,” a woman leaves prison and finds herself in a gentrified city that is a shadow of the one she remembers from her childhood. And in the title story, “Sabrina & Corina,” a Denver family falls into a cycle of violence against women, coming together only through ritual.
Sabrina & Corina is a moving narrative of unrelenting feminine power and an exploration of the universal experiences of abandonment, heritage, and an eternal sense of home.