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Review: Corazón by Yesika Salgado

The book in two sentences: In Corazón, Los Angeles-based Salvadoran poet Yesika Salgado weaves together a collection of poems that speak to all the loves she has experienced over the years. She takes you through the loving and grieving and aching and searching until she and the reader “return to ourselves whole”.

Rating:  Island collection

Long story short: I admit that I haven’t read a lot of poetry recently. Not because I don’t enjoy it, but because it requires more attention than I can give at the present moment, what with school and all.

Corazón by Yesika Salgado was a much-needed reprieve, and I’m glad I spent a sunny and warm afternoon in its pages. Salgado writes about her love, hate, grief, yearning, fatness, depression, brownness, hope, and hunger. The poetry is evocative and produces these vivid images that linger as you turn the pages.

This collection is about reciprocated love, unreciprocated love, loving oneself, loving others, loving food, loving through food, loving in grief, and loving in Spanish. It is about all these types of love, but it is also specifically about loving as a fat, brown body.

Some of my favorite lines include:

  • “I am asked if I want a husband / asked if I will return to my country / they are the same question” (from “A Salvadoran Heart”)
  • “I was taught / that death and power / are always served in the same cup.” (from “Cumbia”)
  • “when it’s good, it feels like dying and being born all at once.” (from “A Kiss”)
  • “how beautiful it is to be loved in Spanish. so much color. so much taste.” (from “Dulzura”)
  • “you love someone for a long time / … / so long the years accordion into each other / and within the folds, all the times you didn’t get it right” (from “With and Without You”)
  • “you, sin and savior” (from “Sacraments”)

I encourage you to read this collection, as it’s a wonderful opportunity to understand and appreciate the body positivity movement, among other things. You should also follow Salgado on social media (@yesikastarr) if you haven’t yet. What did you think of Corazón? Have you read Tesoro yet?

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Currently reading: Corazón by Yesika Salgado

Review: The Lady Matador’s Hotel by Cristina García

Brief synopsis (Goodreads): National Book Award finalist Cristina García delivers a powerful and gorgeous novel about the intertwining lives of the denizens of a luxurious hotel in an unnamed Central American capital in the midst of political turmoil. The lives of six men and women converge over the course of one week. There is a Japanese-Mexican-American matadora in town for a bull-fighting competition; an ex-guerrilla now working as a waitress in the hotel coffee shop; a Korean manufacturer with an underage mistress ensconced in the honeymoon suite; an international adoption lawyer of German descent; a colonel who committed atrocities during his country’s long civil war; and a Cuban poet who has come with his American wife to adopt a local infant. With each day, their lives become further entangled, resulting in the unexpected—the clash of histories and the pull of revenge and desire.

Rating: ✈  Travel companion

Long story short: I really enjoyed The Lady Matador’s Hotel. The plot is slow-moving, but that works in the book’s favor, since the characters are far more interesting and are ultimately what make the book a compelling read. In addition, the writing is charming; it has a poetic cadence that juxtaposes provocatively with the occasional gore and violent imagery.

If you’re on vacation or at the beach, I recommend picking it up! Keep reading for a more in-depth review:

Continue reading “Review: The Lady Matador’s Hotel by Cristina García”

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