The Mortifications by Derek Palacio
Book Review – 2 stars
This is the story of the Encarnacion family. Soledad leaves her husband, Uxbal, who refuses to leave Cuba. Soledad takes her twins, Ulises and Isabel, to Hartford, Conn. where a cousin had some connections. There Soledad becomes a court reporter and falls in love with a Dutch tobacco farmer, Henri. When the children are older, Ulises works in Henri’s tobacco fields, while Isabel becomes a nun and works with the dying. They settle into their new life until years later, they receive a letter from Uxbal calling them home.
I really had very high expectations for this book. It’s been described as gorgeous, magnificent, heartbreaking and achingly beautiful. How could I not like this book? Maybe it was because of the lewd, explicit sexual scenes throughout the book. Maybe it was due to all the references to body odor and fluids. Yes, I could see the good parts of the book, the longing that each member of the family had for their father and their beloved Cuba, the intensity of Isabel’s religious fervor. But the book for me just grew odder and odder the more I read. It didn’t break my heart. It didn’t even touch my heart. I really did want to find the beauty that others found in this book but it just wasn’t there for me.
This book was given to me by the publisher through Blogging for Books in return for an honest review.