Hillary's Reviews > Tales From The Town Of Widows: And Chronicles Fom The Land Of Men

Tales From The Town Of Widows by James Cañón
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's review
Feb 23, 08

Recommended for: everyONE
Read in January, 2007

Tales from the Town of Widows and Chronicles from the Land of Men is a feast for anyone who relishes beautiful, intelligent writing infused with humor and humanity. Set against the backdrop of the Colombian civil war, it tells the story of a group of women living in a remote mountain village who are forced to fend for themselves after a band of Communist guerrillas descends on the village and forcibly recruits all the men, killing those who resist and leading the others away to fight for their cause. The women and children who are left behind must overcome their grief, fear, ignorance and passivity in order to survive and build a new society of their own on the patriarchal rubble of the old. The book embodies many contradictions without ever pulling at the seams. It is at once lyrical and brutal, subversive and idealistic, satirical and affecting, wickedly funny and profoundly sad. It tackles big issues--religion, politics, sexual politics--but its real power lies in the poignant and often comic humanity of its characters. We are also given, in journalistic chronicles at the end of each chapter, brief and often shocking glimpses of the men and boys doomed to fight in the war, and the civilians caught up in its senseless violence. And when, at the end of the book, the men come home after their 16-year absence and try to reclaim their power and male prerogatives, things get really interesting… Tales from the Town of Widows is that rare achievement in literature, a unique and wholly original book.
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