Friday, March 26, 2010

What the Moon Saw, by Laura Resau

Clara has developed a restlessness at home. She feels distant from her friends and she finds herself drawn to wander outside after dark. But just as her parents are beginning to despair, a letter comes from her grandparents in Mexico. Seeming to know all about Clara's problems (despite never having met her before), they invite her to come visit them for the Summer. It is the answer to everything and Clara departs on an adventure of a lifetime.

At first, she finds her grandparents' life in impoverished rural Oaxaca to be unbearable, but soon enough she opens her heart to the different pace of life and discovers a great deal about her family and herself. A parallel story about her grandmother's own girlhood provides some elaboration on the timeless theme of self-discovery.

As with her novel Red Glass, which I reviewed a few months back, this is a beautiful introduction to rural Mexican life. Resau expertly interweaves local culture and language into a well-paced and interesting story. One might quibble that the two books bear an awful lot of similarity to each other (as if Resau has trouble getting out of the same rut), but they are each beautiful in their own way and so are both worth reading.

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