I used to think that there would be no one who would write like Marquez. No one who would be able to create the same magic and weave words that remain stuck in memory and stories that do not get erased, stories that you do not want to forget, long after you have read them. And then to soak the book in entirely, with every word and sentence almost resonating is not easy for an author. The readers more so can act on a whim and drop a book if they want to. The writer on the other hand continues to write. Back to the Marquez track; I have just finished reading, “The Threads of the Heart” by Carole Martinez and this has been the only book in a very long time that has reminded me of Marquez’s writing like no other. A cracker of a read and at the same time, way too emotional and wondrous.
“The Threads of the Heart” is a story of women in a family. The men are almost non-existent or are around as props. Carole Martinez sets her book in Spain and takes it all the way to Africa. That is another thing that struck me and kept me glued to the book. The book centers on Frasquita, who the people of her village believe has healing powers. They think of her to be a sorceress even. She possesses a gift, handed down in her family to generations of women – that of creating gowns and garments that almost seem to have a life of their own. They are capable of anything when worn and sometimes when not. That is Frasquita’s magic. As usual, she is envied for her gift. She and her children are banished from the village. She undertakes a journey to Africa on foot and that is when her life begins.
The writing as I said, reminded me of Marquez and other Latin American writers or writers who write of distant lands and magic thrown in for good measure. What got me going with this book was but of course the way it was written and at the same time, the way the characters were shaped and the plot that moved in various directions. The minor characters had their own charm however Frasquita took my breath away, every time she appeared in the pages. She is an adulteress, she believes in free love and above all she believes that love and magic can heal anything and wants a better life for her family. The story is narrated by her youngest daughter and I loved the third person perspective. The first half is full of magic, the second half is full of issues (or at least that is what came across to me).
The book was originally written in French and translated to English by Howard Curtis. I do not know how the book is in French – the way it is written and the way it reaches out to the readers; however its translation (considering I have only read that) is super. Over all, I loved the read. It was different, magical and truly stupendous.