“Every sigh is breath stolen from life.” ~ Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Woman of Light
Woman of Light is a multigenerational western saga of an Indigenous Chicano family. The book opens in the Lost Territory of New Mexico where Pidre Lopez, a Puebloan Indigenous person, settles in Animas, Colorado, where he runs a Wild West Show.
The author the moves to 1930s Denver, where Luz “Little Light” Lopez, discovers she has clairvoyant gifts and reads tea leaves to help her aunt, Maria Jose and brother, Diego, a snake oil salesman and womanizer pay the rent. When her brother is run out of town by a white mob for dating a white girl, Luz is left to fend for herself.
She uses her family connections to land a job as the secretary in a law office, where she finds herself in a love triangle with her attorney boss and a young mariachi musician. White Supremacy groups violently attack the law office because the attorney represents the downtrodden and underrepresented.
Meanwhile, Luz is having visions that transport her to her familial homeland in the Lost Territory. In the end, it is up to Luz to save her family stories from disappearing into oblivion.
I read this book by Kali Fajardo-Anstine (National Book Award finalist for Sabrina & Corina), in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. I found it to be underdeveloped with a skeletal backstory about the family early in the book. The author’s writing style didn’t keep me engaged, but I found her characters to be noteworthy. The synopsis sounded like it would be a fascinating read, but for me, it was just okay. It is clear the author has talent, though, so I’ll try her again. 3.5 stars.
** Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.