Woman of Light

From Kali Fajardo-Anstine, author of the acclaimed story collection Sabrina & Corina, comes Woman of Light, a multigenerational epic. Primarily set in Denver, Colo., in the 1930s, Fajardo-Anstine's first novel reaches back into the late 1800s to render an extraordinary, many-threaded tapestry of multiple lives and complex origin stories.

Luz is a young woman indigenous to what is now called the American Southwest and possessed with second sight. She reads tea leaves and lives with her brother, Diego, a snake charmer and factory worker, and their aunt, Maria Josie, since their parents abandoned the family. After Diego is beaten nearly to death and forced to leave town by a white family for his relationship with their daughter, Luz begins working for a young lawyer. Luz grows into herself, exploring the wider world of Denver's ruling elite and navigating the challenges of the time and place--the Great Depression, KKK-enforced segregation, police brutality and the attention of various men. Luz's sight unlocks visions of her family's past generations in the "Lost Territory" and their struggles for dignity and peace.

Combining extensive research with a propulsive narrative that spans decades, Fajardo-Anstine delivers a historical novel that never feels like a history lesson. She does so in prose often joyous and warm but unsparing in its depiction of oppression based on race, gender and class. Mysterious and vivid, Woman of Light is an extraordinary painting of a vibrant world both old and new. --Walker Minot, teacher, freelance writer and book reviewer

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