A family saga that spans the depths of love, loss, birth and death Derek Palacio’s The Mortifications is a beautifully heartbreaking novel.
The Encarnacion family once owned a tomato farm in Cuba during the 1980’s revolution, but Soledad, the family’s mother, one day decides that the revolution and her husband are not good for her two children, and so she decides to move to Hartford, Connecticut.
The Mortifications follows each of the four Encarnacion family members, Soledad, Uxbal and their twin children Ulises and Isabel. Torn apart in the throes of the revolution and separated by thousands of miles of sea and land, the children and Soledad begin a new life in Connecticut while Uxbal remains a mystery. Eventually the family comes to find each other again through strange coincidences, tragedy, and devotion.
Palacio does a magnificent job of telling a very heart wrenching story in a distant manner, as far removed from the pain as the characters themselves often are. Every line feels like poetry and the emotion of the text swarms above the words, yet the reader is often unable to touch it. This mode of delivery creates a certain ambience that makes the reader feel trapped, suffocated, desperate, which are the exact emotions that each of the characters experience as they attempt to forget, repair, and eventually move on in their lives.
A beautiful and eye opening expression of Cuban-American literature and the harsh realities of revolution, The Mortifications by Derek Palacio is a worthwhile read. Released by Tim Duggan Books in October 2016, The Mortifications is available for purchase at your local bookstore.
FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me in return for a fair and honest review of the text.