Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Book Review Tues: Gabriela and the Widow

Gabriela and The Widow is the story of Gabriela, a 19 year old Mexican woman who migrates north (to El Norte) where she meets a dying 92 year old woman, The Widow. The novel is their story.

About the Book:
Through the intimate bond of a companion and benefactor, Gabriela reconciles the painful experiences of her youth as she is reshaped by the Widow, La Viuda. Together, day after day, night after night, La Viuda immerses Gabriela in lists, boxes, places, times, objects, photos, and stories, captivating and life-changing stories.  It seems Gabriela is not just hired to cook and clean; she has been chosen to curate La Viuda’s mementos while taking care of the old woman’s failing health. “As you grow thick, I grow thin,” says the widow, portending the secret of immortality that will overtake both women. 

Overall Thoughts:

Normally I'm one to point out too much narrative in a manuscript when critiquing a fellow writer's work, but this is due to the details and imagery not moving the story forward and slowing down the pacing. In Gabriela and the Widow, Jack Remick uses the narrative scene details to not only draw the reader deeper into Gabriela's world, but also as an external character...an antagonist. The world (everyday life) setting becomes part of the story instead of just a backdrop like so many books I've read. The reader needs to see, feel, taste, touch and understand this world on all levels, from narrative details given through the book's voice to Gabriela’s point of view through internal thought and body language. 

Each character in the story feels real, even the ones we only meet for a short time. You can hear, see and feel them moving about as Gabriela slowly finds her way, both in life and internally. You will feel the deepness of this young girl and her desire to find a place to call home. A safe place she can finally put down roots and build a future. The widow also has deepness to her. She draws you in and as this happens, you feel her arms encircling you, comforting you just as a grandmother would. However, you can feel through this wisdom a sadness. Maybe it is her desire to pass down her life, strength and memories...or maybe it is a slight weakness knowing her life is coming to the end. I really can't say as each reader will see and feel something different depending on their own life's journey.

I can tell you for me it was as if I was reading about the bond I have with my own grandmother (my mother's mom). The widow reminds me so much of her and the conversations a lot like ones I've had throughout my life when I've felt lost, unsure or sadness around me. Any woman reading this book will understand the importance of such a lady in their life, a confidante, mentor, a shoulder to lean on. 

For women reading this book, you will also find it to be a coming of age story about Gabriela, a passing of the mantel for the widow. A truly remarkable novel on many deep levels with symbols to bring you back around full circle.

Places available for sale:
Gabriela and The Widow is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.com. After January 15, 2013, it will also be available in multiple eBook and 6x9 trade paperback editions on BN.com, the European Amazons and Amazon Japan.

Wholesale orders can be placed through info@coffeetownpress.com  Baker & Taylor or Ingram. Libraries can also purchase books through Follett Library Resources or Midwest Library Service.

ISBN: 978-1-60381-147-7
Publication Date: January 15, 2013

About the Author: 
Jack Remick is a poet, short story writer and novelist. In 2012, Coffeetown Press published the first two volumes of Jack’s California Quartet series, The Deification and Valley Boy. The final two volumes will be released in 2013: The Book of Changes and Trio of Lost Souls. Blood, A Novel was published by Camel Press, an imprint of Coffeetown Press, in 2011. You can find Jack online at http://jackremick.com  

You can find out more about Jack Remick, his books and World of Ink Author/Book Tour at http://tinyurl.com/akw7kk6

Follow Jack Remick at
Author page: http://jackremick.com
Twitter: @jackremick
Publisher Website: http://CoffeetownPress.com

1 comment:

  1. Virginia: you see so much of the novel in this writing. Thank you for taking the time to dive into the depth of La Viuda's relationship with Gabriela and to return with the symbolism of regeneration.