Thursday, January 21, 2010

Review: Gringa in a Strange Land by Linda Dahl

Gringa in a Strange Land brings back the 'counterculture' of the early 70's, an exhilarating and confusing time for so many young people then. Erica Mason, an American woman living in Mexico, is torn between working to become an artist and the lure of the drug culture. Set mostly in the colonial city of Merida in the Yucatan peninsula, the story then moves among Mayan ruins, laid-back beaches and the cities of Belize and Oaxaca. A host of bohemian expats and Mexicans, and the complex character of Mexico itself, infuse this portrait-of-the-artist-as-a-young-American, that culminates in an unexpected resolution.

Received from the publicist for review.

The overview at the beginning beautifully illustrated for the reader where the characters and locations are at that time in history (1973). It really does give you a nice introduction to the book.

This one gets three stars. It was interesting, but rather on the intellectual side. This is not light reading. It was beautifully written to brilliantly capture the people and the texture of the time. The italicized Spanish/Mayan words could be annoying but they weren't used excessively so they didn't become overwhelming. I also did not particularly care for Erica as a person, but she was nicely written nonetheless. Overall this was a nice, solid read with an enjoyable story and well written characters, but nothing particularly spectacular.

★★☆☆ = Liked It


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