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So Far from God

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  3,143 ratings  ·  229 reviews
Sofia and her fated daughters, Fe, Esperanza, Caridad, and la Loca, endure hardship and enjoy love in the sleepy New Mexico hamlet of Tome, a town teeming with marvels where the comic and the horrific, the real and the supernatural, reside.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 17th 2005 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 1993)
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Lauren I would not recommend this book to readers younger than 16. Even then it would depend on the kid.... It tackles mature subjects (sex and sexuality,…moreI would not recommend this book to readers younger than 16. Even then it would depend on the kid.... It tackles mature subjects (sex and sexuality, violence, abandonment, lots of death) and is not a "straightforward" book; it needs a sophisticated reader. Some knowledge of Spanish also helps.(less)
Geoffrey Nutting a) He was just scared of marriage. When he got a woman (Fe) he could control, he didn't know what to make of it.
b) He probably decided that he wanted…more
a) He was just scared of marriage. When he got a woman (Fe) he could control, he didn't know what to make of it.
b) He probably decided that he wanted to marry someone else (there are some references to Tom running a convenience store/gas station in another town later on, but whoever he married is much weaker than Fe & he's stuck with his life going nowhere)(less)

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3.88  · 
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 ·  3,143 ratings  ·  229 reviews

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Jun 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It's kind of magical realism for the North American feminist. Growing up in a catholic feminist family with my mom and 3 sisters and a dad who was there -- but not so much -- the story felt like a dramatic and whimsical telling of themes I've lived. Like Ana Castillo, I've lived in Chicago and New Mexico, so the terrain and language felt pretty familiar, too.

It's a fun fast read and it's one of those books where you pick up odd little random facts such as:
* what really goes on
Jul 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Novice to magical realism
Recommended to Agnė by: Read & Meet Book Group

“So Far From God” by Ana Castillo is a peculiar magical realism novel set in a small village of Tome in New Mexico. Abandoned by her gambling husband, Sofia single-handedly raises four daughters: Esperanza, an ambitious news reporter; Fe, a jilted bride suffering from a nervous breakdown; Caridad, a promiscuous nurse who is mutilated by a mysterious creature; and saintly La Loca who dies at the age of three and after resurrection avoids human contact. This unusual Chicano family
Mar 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a book that is much busier than it first appears. Castillo has written a novel that, on the surface, appears to be a kind of folksy, magical realism tale about a mother and the incredible fated lives of her four daughters. Below the surface we have a novel that intertwines Catholicism, indigenous (to the Southwest of present day U.S.A.)religion and Mexican American folk beliefs to build a striking critique of patriarchy, capitalism, and the consequences of unrestrained globalism.
Some pe
Oct 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
Castillo's writing is fast and quick with a hodge-podge of fantastic code-switching and pop Chicano cultural references. The story sometimes went all over the place, but even that suited the off-the-hip style. There's something about Castillo's writing -- it hooks me, and it's an easy, interesting read. I think that maybe more than her books, I am falling in love with Ana Castillo herself. Her voice is very strong, and I imagine her out there in the world, with clear, sharp eyes and a deep laugh ...more
Aug 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: magical-realism
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I read it for a Women Writers in the West class in college, and it's the one that stuck with me the most (some other books in the course were Kingston's Tripmaster Monkey, Silko's Almanac of the Dead, Cather's My Antonia, and Kingsolver's The Bean Trees).

Following in the traditions of Latin American magical-realism, the story itself is not amazing, but Castillo's rendition of the characters, as well as their individual reactions to the problems they'
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This novel was unlike any novel i've read before, in a good way. The narrative voice resembled in some ways that of an 18th- or early 19th-c novel, Dickensian almost, in its third-person omniscient stance. The chronicle of Sofi's four special daughters and their lives in northern New Mexico is realist, with magic (but not magical realism). I found myself loving all four of her girls, and Sofi herself, so much that I didn't want this book to end. The blend of Indigenous, Spanish, Chicana, and Ang ...more
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An all time fav. Should I go grad school and just read Chicanx lit all the time?
This seems a bit unfocused - a lot going on in a rather short period of time and all the chapters are episodic and a bit non-sequential. Some of the cover blurbs compare it to a telenovela and that seems pretty fair.

But judging from the title and the last quarter of the book especially, Ms. Castillo certainly has a political agenda and I'm not sure that the episodic nature of the family's story really did as much justice to her points as it could have.
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
I do think that every book has it’s place on a bookshelf somewhere with someone, how ever I am not that someone for this book. Initially I was intrigued with the Spanish text mixed in, however after a chapter or two it really became more frustrating to stop and look up the words my very limited knowledge of Spanish could not figure out.

The flow of this story is also very choppy. You begin a chapter thinking the story is going in one direction, however a detail is added or a character is introdu
Dragon Tran
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I could have really loved this book; I thought I was going to, for a significant portion of it. But over its trajectory, it dropped from a possible 4-star to a 2-star read. Castillo's writing is the best part: her style is incredibly and consistently fluid, vivid, and engaging. Unfortunately, Castillo uses these prodigious writing abilities to create a whole cast of likable, interesting characters, then proceeds to assail them almost exclusively with not-so-likable-or-interesting life events ove ...more
I was so close to loving Ana Castillo’s 1993 novel So Far From God.

So Far From God takes place in a small village in New Mexico, where Sofi is taking care of her four daughters after her husband Domingo has left her. There’s Esperanza, the oldest daughter who works as a television reporter in the Middle East; Fe, who suffers a nervous breakdown when her engagement ends; Caridad, who is attacked by a mysterious creature, ends up living in a cave and becomes a saint to villagers because they beli
Jan 17, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'm really disappointed in So Far From God. I had been wanting to read it for awhile after falling in love with Peel My Love Like an Onion.

My favorite portions of the story were those focusing on Sofia's exploits and the later chapter on Fe. The most hilarious and charming part of the book for me is when the narrator shows the family through the eyes of a somewhat busy-body neighbor. It's basically a short retelling of everything you've just read peppered with her own prejudices and the assumpti
Todo el libro es un milagro.

I should qualify that: although it's dense with the miraculous and out-there, it's the kind of miraculous, out-there stuff that really does happen in a small farming community in rural New Mexico. There is a good amount of Spanish in here and I didn't understand all of it, but I get the feeling I wasn't really meant to understand it. Because it's not really my world, it's the world of Mayor Sofi and her girls, and they talk how they talk and I am lucky just to eavesd
Mar 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
Loved reading this book with so many things I could relate to in my life. This story of a mother and her daughters takes the reader through the years with lots of traditions and at the same time a move toward the modern. A great read!
Bhargavi Suryanarayanan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Yea I love this book.

There's another review of this book that took issue with the fact that the chapter titles had spoilers in it, but like sorry but thats stupid. It's not a spoiler if the author is disseminating the information for their OWN story in an order that THEY choose. Just because the plot is going non-linearly, and revealing information out of order doesn't mean that it's a ""spoiler."" In fact, that was one of the most interesting decisions that Castillo did in this book that had me
- So Far From God follows Sofia and her four daughters in Tome, New Mexico; it is a female driven, charming and tragic tale in the style of magic realism, where extraordinary things happen to ordinary people but no one is exempt from hardships and injustice no matter what clairvoyant powers they may have. So Far From God masquerades itself as a small town folk story but it serves as a microcosm for various injustices of our world including: capitalism, gentrification, industrialism v. environmen ...more
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
With sharp humor that paradoxically reveals painful lived circumstances, So Far From God by Ana Castillo is a necessary text when examining women writing magical realism. The novel is centered around the loves and losses of Sophia and her four daughters --Esperanza, Caridad, Fe, and La Loca. Castillo pulls from Greek mythology in referencing the Goddess of wisdom (Sophia) and her children, Hope (Esperanza), Faith (Fe), and Charity (Caridad). While Castillo’s Sophia has a fourth daughter, La Loca ...more
2017 Reading Challenge - A book based on mythology

The writing was interesting, and definitely a style I usually enjoy. I think because it was set in my home state, it almost hit a bit too close to home, if that makes sense. I felt it to be an incredibly depressing read. Sofi, a mother of four daughters in Tome, New Mexico, leads are hard life in which tragedy is a recurring theme. Each of her daughters' lives represents struggles of this world and beyond. Esperanza is the aspiring journalist and
Octavia Cade
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magical-realism
Magical realist novel set in small town New Mexico, in which Sofia and her four increasingly strange daughters generally fail to get what they deserve. It's not a particularly happy story, though there's a strain of good humour running through it, but it is I think a particularly kind one, in that it's full of compassion for those who are different (and for those who have to live with them). It's funny and feminine and diverse, well worth reading. It certainly feels more accessible than some of ...more
I won't lie, this book had more Catholic faith that I was really comfortable with, and utilized a great deal of Christian iconography. It was still, in my opinion, a brilliant book. It walked the perfect, delicate line of magic realism, all the while following the lives of Sofia and her daughters. The narration of the book was spectacular, and this book reads a bit like a modern day fairy tale.

(view spoiler)
Alexandra Forrest
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, for-school
i really really wanted to love this book and i’m not quite sure why i didn’t. it was well written, interesting, but i struggled to finish it.

everything happened so fast i didn’t even realize it happened. someone died and i still don’t know what went down around that.

i only took one year of spanish and it helped, but i either had to skip over a good portion of the writing or google translate everything.

but! the women of this world were wonderful and powerful and i loved them
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a really incredible book. The mythology, the humor, the gut-wrenching tragedy - it's all there. I read this within the context of an environmental literature class with a background Latinx literature knowledge, and that really enriched my experience; I don't think that I would have appreciated it as much without knowing its context and why it is so important. But yeah, I really liked it and I think it's something everyone should read.
Content warnings: illness, death/murder, racism.
Apr 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This book definitely takes some rumination, On the surface it meanders and it doesn’t seem like anything significant happens. But if you take a moment to ask what the magic symbolizes, what role each sister plays in society, and the overall significance of feminism, culture, and religion on communities, then it becomes a much richer book. Let’s just say I’m glad I read it as part of my grad studies, otherwise I would have missed the point.
Aug 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a lot of mixed emotions about this book. Not being either Mexican or a woman, it was hard to latch on to a character that I could identify with, and I dont even know if comment from me is therefore at all appropriate. I kind of think of it the way I remember thinking after seeing the movie Terms Of Endearment: It was sensational, and I dont ever want to see it again. It is an important book, and everyone should read it and decide for themselves how they feel about it.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bought-and-read
I thoroughly enjoyed the supernatural and comic aspects of this book. The narrator was charismatic and her tone was very conversational. I did not foresee as many deaths and the ending left me a bit confused, but I really enjoyed reading about this family and how they have been impacted by violence from men, environmental injustice, and their relationships with each other as sisters.
Aug 03, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I've always had a half hankering to read One Hundred Years of Solitude, and for perhaps that reason there's always this strong association in my mind of magic realism and Latinx authors. Never having got around to it, So Far From God is my foray into the genre.

It's...a lot, and sort of weird, and definitely disjointed? There's a core set of characters, though, and that helps tie the novel together. It wasn't something I just had to read, but I was happy to continue reading and picked it up in li
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Just began this one. We are reading at the college in prep for her March visit.

So far, reminds me of a combination of Like Water for Chocolate and Bless Me, Ultima in terms of blending reality with magical realism. Very jumpy, sort of funny.

Love the Spanish and Spanglish interspersed!
Love magical realism? Wish that García Márquez's books passed the Bechdel test? Look no further.

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Gy Mirano. She has the perfect story-teller's voice for this book.

I listened to the Spanish translation, and would be interested in reading the original as well.
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What's the meaning of chapter 8? 4 27 Oct 02, 2016 07:10AM  

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Ana Castillo (June 15, 1953-) is a celebrated and distinguished poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, editor, playwright, translator and independent scholar. Castillo was born and raised in Chicago. She has contributed to periodicals and on-line venues (Salon and Oxygen) and national magazines, including More and the Sunday New York Times. Castillo’s writings have been the subject of numer ...more
“something about giving himself over to a woman was worse than having lunch with the devil...” 14 likes
“Hell = "where we get rid of all the lies told to us. That’s where we go and cry like rain. Mom, hell is where you go to see yourself.” 6 likes
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