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Esperanza's box of saints
Maria Amparo Escandon
Adult Fiction ESCANDON

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Mexican-American author Escandón offers an engaging, simply written novel that traces a woman's search for her beloved 12-year-old daughter. The tale begins with a miracle: on the day of her daughter's funeral, grief-stricken Esperanza Diaz is preparing pollo al chipotle for the funeral guests when San Judas Tadeo, the saint of desperate cases, appears in her grimy oven window "like a piñata dangling from a rope" to tell her that Blanca, who supposedly succumbed to an infection in the hospital after a tonsillectomy, is not dead. Esperanza immediately sets out on a dangerous, sometimes hilarious search for her lost child, leading the reader into a vibrant fictional realm. Esperanza's world is one in which a woman's skin tastes like tamarind candy, in which the statue of a saint glows and smells like lilacs and in which Esperanza's religious devotion has an aphrodisiac effect on the men she encounters. Despite the protests of her old friend Soledad and the concerns of her priest, who is disturbed by his intense attraction to her, Esperanza becomes convinced that Blanca was kidnapped by a doctor at the hospital and was forced into child prostitution. Esperanza's search takes her from a local brothel to Tijuana and then to Los Angeles; along the way, she encounters such zany characters as the eccentric, elderly Dona Trini, owner of a high-class brothel and keeper of a peculiar secret; the rich, lonely American Mr. Haynes, who pays Esperanza for nights of lullabies and conversation; Vicenza, a tough-talking businesswoman and die-hard wrestling fan; and, finally, the very human El Angel Justiciero, a professional wrestler with wings and a mask, who lands at Esperanza's feet and changes her life. Recounted alternately in first and third person, through her confessions, Blanca's diary and the prayers of the priest, Esperanza's charming journey, with its surprising conclusion, leads her out of grief into self-knowledge and reveals that the path of faith is often anything but straight and narrow. (Jan.) FYI: The novel is based on Escandón's Spanish-language screenplay, which has been bought by John Sayles. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Born in Mexico and living in Los Angeles, first novelist Escandón brings us Esperanza Diaz, a beautiful widow in a small Mexican town. Esperanza is grieving for her 12-year-old daughter, Blanca, who has died suddenly from a virus, when a vision of San Judas Tadeo appears to her in her greasy oven window. The vision drives Esperanza to search for Blanca, whom she suddenly believes to have been kidnapped by a doctor and sold as a child prostitute. The novel, which sends Esperanza north across Mexico to Los Angeles, takes the reader along on a delightful journey into the soul of a humble woman filled with love for her daughter and faith in her saints. Esperanza's travels lead her to a new love, a professional wrestler named Angel (famous for repeatedly defeating a wrestler named "La Migra"), and to the truth about Blanca. Highly recommended for all libraries. [This book will be published in a Spanish-language edition as well.‘Ed.]‘Carolyn Ellis Gonzalez, Univ. of Texas at San Antonio (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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