The World in Half
by Cristina Henriquez
I have been very fortunate to have read some truly awesome books this year(I am blatantly ignoring my one glaring exception). And this book was another one added to the Love It pile.
Miraflores knows little about her father. He was her mother's adulterous fling from Panama that ended with her conception. Now a college student, Mira learns her mother has been diagnosed with a form of Alzheimer's that strikes early. When Mira discovers love letters her father sent her mother twenty years earlier she is sent on a quest to find him, and herself, in the distant land of Panama, a place that is a big part of her heritage and yet that she knows nothing about. Along the way she makes a friend who will help her find her past and rediscover her mother.
The World in Half was one of the easiest novels I have ever read. Effortlessly I read through the long chapters, waiting to find out what would happen next. Would she find her father or was she finding something else? Would she follow in her mother's footsteps? I fell in love with Danilo's exuberance and Mira's thirst for life. And the love story, being understated until fully revealed, was touching and romantic. Panama came alive in my mind and was a beautiful place despite its flaws. I was able to see it from the eyes of Mira and Danilo. I realized early on that I was reading the dialogue with a Spanish accent; that's how effective the writing was in transporting me to another place.
Cristina Henriquez asks some deeper questions without seeming to in her book. What makes a person who they are? Can you belong to a place that you have never been to before? Can a decision be right and wrong at the same time? If forgetting is uncontrollable, where does forgiveness fit in?
It was a beautiful story beautifully told. I definitely recommend it.
I am grateful to Riverhead Books for sending me a copy and to the author for sharing such a touching story of discovery, love and forgiveness. I assure you I will be reading Henriquez' award winning debut novel Come Together, Fall Apart very soon.
Buy this book at Amazon.