Title: Woman of Light
Author: Kali Fajardo-Anstine
Publication Date: 2022
Publishing House: One World
This was a Book of the Month book but I didn’t get it from there. My to read shelf, is a bit over flowing and so I didn’t order it initially but I saw it again at my favorite used bookstore and decided it needed to come home with me. One of the things that I push myself today is to read books about other cultures that are written by people of those cultures. They are often heavy reading but they are stories that need to be read.
“There is one every generation–a seer who keeps the stories.”
Luz “Little Light” Lopez, a tea leaf reader and laundress, is left to fend for herself after her older brother, Diego, a snake charmer and factory worker, is run out of town by a violent white mob. As Luz navigates 1930’s Denver on her own, she begins to have visions that transport her to her Indigenous homeland in the nearby Lost Territory. Luz recollects her ancestors’ origins, how her family flourished and how they were threatened. She bears witness to the sinister forces that have devastated her people and their homelands for generations. In the end, it is up to Luz to save her family stories from disappearing into oblivion.
Written in Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s singular voice, the wildly entertaining and complex lives of the Lopez family fill the pages of this multigenerational western saga. Woman of Light is a transfixing novel about survival, family secrets, and love, filled with an unforgettable cast of characters, all of whom are just as special, memorable, and complicated as our beloved heroine, Luz.
There is so much generational trauma and also so much love packed into these 300 pages. The story is beautiful and heartbreaking. Family means so much to these people, they work so hard just to survive in a world that seemingly hates them just for the color of their skin.
Luz is not perfect, she makes mistakes. She is also a young woman taken advantage of by someone who shouldn’t. The past that she sees in the tea leaves is that of her family. All their trials and all their strength to deal with the hands they were dealt.
I suggest this book for those who are interested in seeing the world differently and for those who want a story of fictional people but real situations. Happy reading.
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