“I was born with a white spot, or what others call a birthmark, on the cornea of my right eye. That spot would have been entirely insignificant if it hadn’t been right in the center of my iris.”
So begins Guadalupe Nettel’s exquisite novel based on her memories of growing up in Mexico in the seventies, with a birth defect in her eye and a family intent on fixing it. From a psychoanalyst’s couch the narrator looks back on her bizarre childhood, having somehow survived the emotional havoc she went through. And survive she did, but not unscathed.
In the intimate and delicately crafted narrative echoes the tender voice of the narrator’s younger self, a sharp, sensitive girl infinitely more damaged by the deformities life inflicted upon her than by her birth defect.
The novel’s perfectly bare language and its smart humor, both delicate and unafraid, weave together a strand of touching, sometimes painful, sometimes delightful moments in the narrator’s unconventional childhood that crushed her, scarred her, mended her, tore her apart and made her whole. With this novel Guadalupe Nettel confirms what the critics have celebrated since her literary debut: she is one of the decade’s revelations of the Spanish language.
Praise for The Body Where I Was Born
One of the fascinating qualities of this book is the unsparing testimony, somewhere between religious confession and secular disclosure, that gives a sharp sense of a woman’s harrowing girlhood.AMY ROWLAND, THE NEW YORK TIMES
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