Sabrina & Corina

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

This collection of short stories picked me up and shook me into reading them as thoughtfully and carefully as they deserve. The collection as a whole is a mosaic of the lives of Hispanic peoples in the west, particularly Denver. Each one is a window into a distinct world with clearly articulated characters. It astonishes me to consider how the author manages to render them so artfully in so few words. As I read through the book, I found myself pulled into not only the individual stories but also the world that they inhabit and am the richer for it.
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A great collection of short stories largely revolving around family, especially coming of age and staking your own place within your family. There's also a Latin American and/or indigenous American cultural background running through the heart of every story. It's not done as an afterthought - like some authors who try too hard and just insert a sprinkling of Spanish words every now and then - but well woven into the narrative.

I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone looking for contemporary American short stories.
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A strong short story collection full of characters not typically found in fiction. Kali Fajardo-Anstine is an excellent writer and storyteller.
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I haven't been a big short story reader in the past, I guess mostly because I associate them with super inscrutable academic texts that needed close readings to make heads or tails of what was happening. But recently I've discovered podcasts about books and I've heard about short story collections that weren't a slog.

This collection is definitely relatable, didn't need an English degree to get what was happening. I appreciated that the stories were all relatively the same length, and sparse rather than long winded. I think for most of the stories, though written in first person, Fajardo-Anstine was able to convey different voices. 

My favourites in the collection were "Sugar Babies," the titular "Sabrina and Corina," "Remedies," "Cheesman Park," and "Tomi." I thought "Sugar Babies" was a particularly well executed critique of the absurdities of American Sex-ed and gendered standards. "Sabrina and Corina" was sad, and morbid but beautiful and my other favourites just had me relating completely with the narrators. 

I don't know if it was intentional as I haven't heard from the author on the topic, but these stories are interstectional and feminist and are I think a super important examination of the Latinx experience in the US. 

Its a quick read, some of the stories will stick with you for a while - so dip in and out and savour them. Looking forward to seeing what the Fajardo-Anstine will write next.
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This collection blew me away. Each story here is centered on the experiences of Latinas of indigenous descent in and around Denver. Fajardo-Anstine brings her readers so close to her characters – their desires, their fears, their families, their histories – that we feel like we're inside their bodies and minds. SABRINA & CORINA is deeply intimate, profoundly beautifully written, so surprisingly and flawlessly plotted that each turn of the page is a revelation. I can't stop thinking about it. I can't wait to buy it for everyone I know.
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This collection was like that tin of assorted Christmas cookies from my childhood: compelling, varied, on my mind until they were gone.  I adored this collection of short stories and returned to them at every opportunity until I had finished reading them.

There is something magical to me in the short story form.  The author must draw characters in quick brushstrokes, rewarding the reader’s willingness to engage in the newness of each story with an experience that is rich and rings true, quickly.

Fajardo-Anstine uses sensory detail to accomplish this, and does so effectively.  I was quickly drawn in to each apartment, relationship, set of circumstances, and held there until she was done telling that story.

I am already looking forward to Fajardo- Anstine’s forthcoming novel.  It can’t come soon enough for me!

Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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This book is a collection of short stories that bring to life the lives of working-class indigenous, Latina, and dual ethnicity, bilingual and bicultural women. The commonality is the backdrop of Denver, Colorado and the town of Saguarita, "a place where the land with its silken fibers of swaying grass resembled a sleeping woman with her face pressed firmly to the pillow, a golden blonde by day, a raven-haired beauty by night."
 
What I loved about this author (Kali Fajardo-Anstine) was her ability to immerse the reader into the setting which she aptly describes in unique and familiar ways. By 'familiar' I mean as a Latina, Chicana in the southwest, I've known these characters. They're my neighbors, relatives, and friends. The author has a wonderful ability to describe people in few but powerful words: "She was a small shadowy woman, my grandmother." "Her stance was wobbly and unrefined, as though she had given someone else permission to wear her skin...she was caught forever in her own undercurrent."

The women in the story are treated with respect although the reader doesn't have to agree with their choices. These are strong, scrappy women who make mistakes like everyone else and navigate their world the best they can with what they know and have at the time. 

These are stories that women can relate to because of the themes: love, abandonment, betrayal, abuse, friendship, and mother-daughter relationships. Most of the stories are contemporary but a couple of them are set in the 1960's, like my favorite one "Sisters."

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an uncorrected e-book file for review. I would definitely read other books by this author.
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Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for the free e-ARC of Sabrina & Corina in exchange for a free review

Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s short story collection, Sabrina & Corina, is a collection of lovely stories about interesting Latina women. The stories focused on entirely on women, friendship, motherhood, daughters, and other stories in between. They’re all focused on Latina women in Colorado. I really liked the title story, Sabrina & Corina. I really liked Fajardo-Anstine’s writing style, and she was able to capture my attention in the short pieces, which isn’t always easy. I look forward to reading more of her work.
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This short story collection about Indigenous Latina women living in Colorado and bound by family, tradition, trauma, mental illness, and a lot of death. It was a good book, and it touched on a lot of important topics. I appreciated the way that absence and abandonment was explored in so many narratives. The common experiences of the various women felt real and connected. Family loomed large in this book. It was palpable. But. The format. I felt with every new story, that I had to start over getting familiar with everyone again, despite the common themes in this book. I wish, so much, that this book had been a novel about various women in the family living their lives around the tragedy in the title story. I wish we could have come to know them all and their stories and histories in relationship to this central loss. I wanted an epic story of a spread out family and all of the common ties and differences that shaped their relationship to this particular loss; I wanted to see their resilience and their traumas shape their reactions. I wanted a very very long novel. There were excellent seeds here. I’m excited to see more from the author.
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Each of the stories in Fajardo's collections are rich in voice and perspective. She does not shy away from letting the reader bear witness to the truth of each character's pain, the decisions we make in hard circumstances, the power in femininity and womanhood, and the strength that growth requires. I believe this is a book that will appeal to readers for voice alone, but they shouldn't miss the emotional richness of each story.
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There are few things I enjoy more than a well-written, emotionally scarring book, and Kali Fajardo-Anstine's SABRINA & CORINA did not disappoint in either category.

I've never been to Denver, Colorado, but that's where most of Fajardo-Anstine's short stories are set. And quite honestly, sometimes it felt as if I'd been in Colorado my whole life considering how detailed and life-like Fajardo-Anstine's writing is.

We start off with "Sugar Babies," bones, and, funnily enough, not the exact version of sugar babies that I was expecting. Sierra is partnered to raise a "sugar baby" like it was a 1990s high school, which it probably was set in. Saguarita is a dusty place of a home, but Sierra and her father make the best of it. Her mother ran off years ago, but like an addict, Josie comes back time and time again to see her daughter and husband. And her husband, willful receiver, pretends that nothing has happened in her absence. As Sierra notes, "I felt like my father was a liar, someone who could pretend everything was fine when, really, how could he be anything but sad?"

But it makes sense. Sierra is too young to maybe care or understand yet, but adults must grab at whatever bites of happiness they can get their hands on. Sometimes, it feels so good to pretend that everything is fine.

And I suppose that was the point of this particular short story. It surely stuck much more with me than some of the other stories had--which is not to say they weren't fabulous, it's just that the opening piece was absolutely amazing--and the way Fajardo-Anstine writes could make me cry if I weren't bone-dry.

There are 11 short stories. They deal with all the myriad pains and joys of being ethnic in a world that despises ethnicities that aren't pale. It speaks of the anguish that comes with being a woman in a world where a white man exorcizes our eyes and skin. It speaks of the all the love and laughter, the tears and poverty that having a heritage rooted in suffering and great culture can bring. In a word, it was almost spiritual.
5 stars.
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There are times when we open a book and its undiscovered terrain. The social construct we live in doesn't always apply to the story we are entering so we have to come in with an open mind. In this book, the writer takes certain elements and amplifies it to the point were we grow weary of the terror, the evil, and all of the harm done against the women that we encounter in this book. I think it was meant to be written that way. Sometimes the stories and the settings are the same but the impact they have on you. To see the same violence over and over again. I think she meant for the reader to feel this. I think she wanted certain aspects of the world we live in amplified and mirrored in such a way that we didn't lose sight of them. We often get muddled through with fogs and mists that are put in the way to draw focus away from the bigger picture. She wants us to confront this, to get tired of the gentrification, of the violence against women, of white men using them as commodities, as exotic objects that they can use to immortalize their name, to perpetuate their violence while still feeling superior, to continue the colonization of the land but now through the women. It's an amazing read. She doesn't mince words. Sometimes the worst harm is done through family that ask well "what did you expect"? Family that is supposed to be there for you but can't be there for themselves so you have to either sink with them or let them go. It's just a provocative and a different perspective into the lives of indigenous Latina women . The cycle of violence that follows generations and the chains between the stories were wonderfully crafted. You see parallels between the stories that guide how the story. The prose hits you in a way that just makes the story hurt and leave behind a bruise as a reminder of the violence. The violence that we should be furious at and the people that continue to perpetuate it. Just a five star read overall.
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🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 out of 5 🌸s
I absolutely loved this collection of stories. To be very honest, I went into it slightly biased in its favor--one of the author's sisters was my eldest daughter's best friends when they were small, and I share the dubious distinction with another sister of having been horribly bitten by the same dog. That said, the stories stunned me with their scope, their imagery, and the breadth of the author's knowledge of the human condition, specifically of the female human condition. The stories are riveting and just plain lovely. The collection brought to mind nobody so much as Lucia Berlin. Brilliant.
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Gorgeous heartbreaking stories that tear at your heart whether your Latina or not these stories each a gem draw you into this world this culture.From the gorgeous cover to the lyrical writing this book will keep you turning the pages, #netgalley #randomhouse
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I had seen a few people discuss this book on Instagram and was immediately curious (also I need to own a physical copy, that cover is gorgeous!) This book was beautiful and haunting. It was harsh and explosive and loving and dark. So many things in this book are experiences and heartaches that go throughout the Hispanic/Native community and it made me want to cry and keep reading at the same time. My only problem with it was I wish some of the stories continued! I wanted to know more.
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No one can hurt you like family

These beautiful short stories will break your heart, just a little, then fill you with love. Fajardo-Anstine writes Indigenous Latina family stories all taking place in or around Denver. Each story focusing on one relationship at a time: mothers and daughters, sisters, close cousins, brother and sister. There's a common theme of absent parents and children that have to grow up just a little too quickly. Family misfits who want to be seen as valuable. Also gentrification of urban Denver and death ceremonies, both forced changes we sometimes don't want to acknowledge. The title story, "Sabrina & Corina", was my clear favorite and one I'll re-read again.

Fajardo-Anstine's writing is very descriptive without falling into purple prose. The reader can clearly visualize the weather sweeping through the Colorado countryside, a mother's kitchen, and the familiar funeral parlor. I really hope Fajardo-Anstine explores novel length books because she would be amazing at it I'm sure.

Stories: 5 stars
Writing/Prose: 5 stars
Overall Theme: 5 stars
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