Monday, September 20, 2010

Review of Todos Santos

Todos Santos
Deborah Clearman
Black Lawrence Press
236 pages
Todos Santos is an evocative must read.
Catherine Barnes is at precipice in her life, her marriage is failing and her teenaged son Isaac is on a downward spiral leading to trouble. Her sister-in-law living in Antiqua Guatemala offers to give Isaac a job in her shop while Catherine goes on to the small town of Todos Santos to use local children to illustrate a book. Catherine is convinced that in using this time for herself, she’ll be able to answer some difficult questions about her life and allow her some soul searching as well. Will she like what she finds? Join her on her sojourn and find out.
It’s obvious that Ms. Clearman is definitely familiar with the people and regions of Guatemala and Todos Santos as is colorfully displayed in her novel of the same name. She does this with vivid descriptive dialogue that will take her readers on horrendous taxi rides through verdant scenery and witness some of the most kaleidoscopic characters you will ever have the pleasure of meeting. Her audience will be enthralled by her unique story line as she takes us all on an adventure of a lifetime. We will witness one woman’s search for self healing and in Ms. Clearman’s brilliant mind she will also give us various sub-plots to unravel at the same time, some dealing with politics and others the misadventures of a teenaged male. Her characters are all amazing, clearly defined and well depicted as they play their prospective parts. You her readers will be especially charmed by Catherine, her protagonist as she wields her way into our hearts, we will be entertained by the inhabitants of the Town of Todos Santos where the ancient Mayan civilization is alive and well and then we’ll be absorbed in the maelstrom of events that Isaac gets himself into. Todos Santos is also a love story, a love of a people and a way of life that may seem foreign to most of us, but is non the less still precious and in need of saving.
This is an incredible piece of literary fiction that will appeal to a multitude of fans, from the coming of age fan, to the romance fan to the fan of learning about new people and places. But don’t let any of that steer you, just read it because it’s a wonderfully written novel.

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