First Love & Look For My Obituary: Two Novellas
by Elena Garro
Category: Fiction / Literary
0 pages; ISBN: 1880684519
Rating: 10/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Kathryn Lively
First Love & Look For My Obituary are two novellas--almost short stories, really--that delve into the pain of love found and tragically lost, and like the work of Laura Esquivel (Like Water for Chocolate) these stories focus on women in particular and bring light to the emotional duress endured in a patriarchal societies where a woman's voice is usually not heard.
The late Elena Garro's reputation in her native Mexico as a writer was nothing short of brilliant, and it shows in these stories of love. In First Love, the love in question is a German prisoner of war in post-WWII France, who befriends mother and daughter tourists amid the disapproval of the local folk. Trapped in an unhappy marriage and thankful for the break from domestic life, mother Barbara soon cannot deny her attraction to the soldier while her daughter (also named Barbara) feels an infatuation for the same man which is the catalyst for her growth into a mature young woman. Look For My Obituary is not as straightforward a tale as its predecessor. This story tells of a young husband and father, unhappy in an arranged marriage, whose passion is awakened by a beautiful, mysterious stranger. With relentless determination he pursues this woman, though is careful not to cause scandal within his own loveless union, until his clandestine meetings with his love end with her "death"--her printed obituary is really an announcement of her own arranged marriage.
First Love & Look for My Obituary offers powerful sociological commentary and is evidence of Garro's own concern for the mistreatment of women in her culture. Garro wrote with an eloquence accented with her Mexican heritage, yet both stories are not too immersed as to be confusing to those unfamiliar with the culture.
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