Cover Image: The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez

The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez

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Member Reviews

My review of the audiobook for Booklist is here:

The review was also cross-posted to Smithsonian BookDragon:

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This was such a beautiful and heart wrenching story! I couldn’t help but cheer for Fulgencio while other times he made me so frustrated. I was immediately pulled in and invested in his story. This book was so atmospheric and I loved the deep cultural and family themes. The only thing I didn’t love was the excuse of the curse to absolve him of all his wrong doing.

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This is Literary Fiction & Magical Realism at its best! Truly a beautiful, inspirational adventure. I loved the Spanish used in context, the great love story, and the back in forth in time. I felt that I was right there with the characters!
I will need to purchase this to keep with my favorites. Beautiful!!!

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This was an interesting book while I found the authors writing style a little hard to follow at time I found the plot very enjoyable

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Fulgencio Ramirez falls in love the moment he sees Carolina Mendelssohn, daughter of the local pharmacist. They live in La Frontera during the 1950's, and Fulgencio is sure Carolina will be his. Until, she isn't. They are pulled apart by forces beyond their control, and Carolina marries someone else. Fulgencio becomes a pharmacist, conducting a daily ritual of poring over the local obituaries in the newspaper. One day, decades later, while engaging in his macabre ritual, Fulgencio's heart soars with happiness. Carolina's husband has died, and Fulgencio's second chance has arrived at last! Of course, to capture the heart of the one you love after so many years and such recent tragedy is no easy feat, especially when there is a darkness from the past that has shadowed Fulgencio's every footstep from the moment of his birth, tripping him up and denying him every lasting happiness. It is time for Fulgencio to correct the wrongs of the past, to win Carolina's heart, and to find the love that has always been denied to him.

What a layered and interesting book that spans generations and approaches love, rage, mistakes, and second chances in such an interesting light! Fulgencio is a tragic character, unable to make his relationships last, and that is because of a tragedy that occurred long before he was born! Carolina is the sad victim of Fulgencio's malaise, in that she cared deeply for him, but what plagued him also kept them apart for decades. I listened to the audiobook for this story, and while I enjoyed hearing about the 1950's and Fulgencio's budding feelings for Carolina, the narrator's delivery definitely lacked emotional punch, and I would have preferred a bit more oomph in emotional and tense moments. The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez is an engrossing story about lost love, second chances, and breaking free of negative behaviors and emotions to find peace, and while its characters are flawed, their hearts are in the right place.

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This is a delightful story, full of magical realism and heart, with emotions as dramatic as those in any good Mexican telenovela or bolero, the lyrics of which are interspersed throughout.

I loved watching Fulgencio Ramirez rise from his violent, underprivileged beginnings, to pursue Carolina, the love of his life and the pharmacist's daughter, to become a pharmacist himself, to gain much only to lose what matters most, yet gain even more in the end.

In this novel, Rudy Ruiz beautifully portrays life along the borderlands between Mexico and the United States, the historical divide that separated families and created lasting cultural tensions. Best of all, Ruiz offers a hopeful outlook for the future if, as he asks us to do, we can "turn the page with an open mind and an even more open heart."

I highly recommend this novel.

Thank you to Blackstone Publishing for providing a review copy.

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i really enjoyed reading this book, the characters were great and I really enjoyed going on this journey. I look forward to more from the author.

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Thank you to Blackstone and NetGalley for the Reader's Copy!

Now available!

Like any good Western, Rudy Ruiz's latest book "The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez" has it all - a tortured male protagonist, a love story that lasts the years and legendary arch nemesis. However, there's more than meets the eye in the border town of La Frontera like drug addled crime lords, religious Catholic priests and roaming undead spirits. With a touch of magical realism, Ruiz plays around with the concept of intergenerational trauma, machismo and the healing power of love. Like a hearty tortilla soup, "The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez" will leave you with a full heart and a smile on your face.

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Many thanks to the publisher, the author, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.

Jumping between teenage life in a 1950s U.S. border town and the late 198os, our narrative circles around the life of Fulgencio Ramirez, the son of Mexican immigrants, who has spent his life balancing his Mexican roots with his drive to capture the American dream. When we meet Fulgencio, he is partaking in his daily ritual of checking the obituaries to see if his rival, the man who married his high school sweetheart, Carolina Mendelssohn, has died.

Can we just take a minute to appreciate that petty game? Wow.

On this particular day, his efforts are rewarded. He sees the news that he has been waiting for. In the next brash moment, Fulgencio is writing to Carolina and begging for an audience to see her again. To make right what was set wrong so very long ago.

From there the story begins to unfold flashing back to reveal the budding romance between Fulgencio and Carolina, Fulgencio's relationship with his family - including the solitare playing ghost of his grandfather, and his drive and dedication to his education with the goal of building a comfortable life for Carolina. Fungencio, or "Fully" as he is called by Carolina, face cultural differences and the lingering stares from members of their community because of their racial and economic differences. Fulgencio is also controlling, hot-headed, and possessive of Carolina in such a way that makes him feel not like himself and this puts added strain on their relationship. To top it all off, Fulgencio hears words rattling around in his head that he cannot understand that make him act in this brutish way. Ultimately, through a series of miscommunications and misread situations, Fulgencio and Carolina part ways in heartbreak.

As Fulgencio comes more into himself, finishes his studies as a pharmacist and learns more about his heritage, he begins to comprehend Nahuatl and finally the words in his head make sense. What he learns is that his erratic behavior can be attributed to a family curse, and it is one that he must break. By the time Fulgencio learns of the death of Carolina's husband, he has already been working his way down a path of redemption for quite some time to - yet again - gain her favor.

This is an odd story and not just because of the elements of magical realism that lace the narrative. It is odd because it seems in equal parts to excuse and condemn toxic masculine behavior and machismo. The "curse" serving as a scapegoat to explain Fulgencio's irrational teenage outbursts. Consequently, does breaking the curse somehow serve as a metaphor of Fulgencio severing his roots and becoming something new - both American and Mexican? Or is it a blunt correction of the negative aspects of his family history? That by fully understanding his past (include the language of his ancestors) only then can he evolve?

One thing I did enjoy about this book is that it is semi-bilingual. The "borderlands" imagery of this story is repeated not only in the setting, but in the very language of the piece. It flows seamlessly and truly enriches the reading experience. Brilliantly done on the part of the author.

However, I struggled with this book mostly because I did not find any of the characters realistic or even likable. For example, the narratives set in the 1950s felt like I was watching an after school special filled with melodrama and stilted speeches. The character's reacted to situations in too predicable a manner which led to a reluctant arc for character development. This especially hurt the story when we think about Fulgencio's growth and achievement before and after breaking the curse. Despite his flaws, Fulgencio can still be viewed as a sympathetic character, but maybe not a memorable one.

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While I don't mind reading about creepy characters or characters who exhibit disturbing behaviour, I'm not a fan of narratives that try to present these kind of characters as 'heroes'. When we first meet our protagonist Fulgencio Ramirez, we are told that he was 'wronged', and because of this he was unable to marry his sweetheart (who married his 'nemesis' instead). We jump back to thirty years prior, when Fulgencio first sees Carolina Mendelssohn. He sees her and that's it, he decides that they are meant to be and will eventually get married. In order to get closer to her he asks her father, a pharmacist, to offer him a job. He begins working out so he can have a 'body' that will catch Carolina's attention...which fair enough, self-improvement is good...but, the thing is that he loves Carolina because she's beautiful. That's the reason he thinks HE is the one for her. Like, wtf? He likes her 'golden' hair, her 'fair' skin, her 'angelic' face. After some time goes by, she seems interested in him only because he helps her with her Spanish homework (and also because she finds him 'exotic'...which, yikes). His behaviour is stalker-y and cocky, not a great combination. And yet, his feelings are made to seem 'pure', their love 'fated'. There is this scene in which she falls from a ladder or something and he catches her in his 'strong' arms as Carolina is just like a 'feather' (insert headache-inducing eye-roll here).<br />You can dismiss me as a snowflake all you like but this is the kind of novel I would be more forgiving of if it had been written in the 80s. But it wasn't.

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I was excited to reach for Ruiz's novel as a highlighted new Latinx release on Goodreads. And, indeed, what a beautiful tale of love, rejection, class and passage of time in Mexico and the US.

While I don't usually reach for books with ANY kind of fantasy or magical realism elements, this one hit it out of the park. In this novel, our main character Fulgencio Ramirez attempts to win back the love of Carolina Mendelssohn - the love of his life from thirty years ago whose husband has just died. Fulgencio and Carolina come from very different social classes and are separated by a border, literal and metaphorical, which is another theme thoroughly examined in this novel. The writing is vivid and imaginative in a way that managed to transport me straight to La Frontera.

In addition to the fascinatic magical tale, while I was reading with my eyeballs, I had the chsance to listen to the audiobook simultaneously. Narration in the audiobook version is truly brilliant. I loved how the narrator was able to accentuate the right moments and bring raw emotions to life.


*Thank you to the Publisher for a free advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Fulgencio Ramirez starts off as an ambitious teen who sets his sights on two things: he wants to be a pharmacist, and he wants to marry Carolina Mendelssohn. Fulgencio is talented at everything he sets his mind to, but he has a family curse holding him back. Ruiz creates an elaborate picture of Fulgencio and Carolina, and of the place they live on the border of the United States and Mexico. The language used is beautiful, Ruiz masterfully balances the language and culture of both sides of the border, and it's rounded out with a meaningful message. However, the plot is slow to start, and the narrative is oddly paced. The family curse is mentioned frequently, but it isn't actually addressed until two-thirds of the way into the book. Then, the effort to get rid of the curse, which is the most exciting part of the novel, is brief. This novel has a lot of potential, but is in need of a lot more balance.

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If I had to describe The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez in one word I would say Wonderful. It is a wonderful book full of wisdom, love, growth, magic, and ghosts. The story follows Fulgencio through his life, the mistakes he has made, and the regrets he has. I will say that Fulgencio is not always a character you will like, many times I found him rude, overbearing, violent, and just plain crazy. He is truly stalker material. However, the story is about his resurrection, so we have to witness his negative traits so we can see how he changes. The characters are great, I loved them all, especially the ghosts. The setting was perfect, everything was very well written. I highly recommend this book, it really has everything.

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I hadn’t read much magical realism since I graduated, so reading this story was a wild rollercoaster of nostalgia, especially tied in with all the shifts between Spanish and English that laced through the novel. Everything about the story was blended so well together, you didn’t quite grasp the shifts, and I loved that because it really felt like the reader knew Fulgencio, because this is what he saw, this is what he felt. Perhaps my favorite part of the story was Fulgencio’s passion—it was something that never went away, and it seemed to bleed out of the pages. It’s definitely the kind of story I would recommend for someone just dipping their toes into the world of magical realism, and it’s certainly one that they would remember.

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While I found this story humorous and interesting, there were parts that were hard to get through. I was anxious to know the fate of Flugencio and Carolina. The author included many zany characters and situations. This story reminded me of the plot of a Mexican t.v. novela. Throughout the novel, readers will find many cultural and religious aspects embedded into the characters lives. Overall, a satisfying read.

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The description is clear to state the writing follows magical realism, but it' an interesting thing to actually read it. It has a good way of bringing forth the real feelings of someone who is a minority, who is poorer than others and wants to strive for a better life and rise out and be like something else. Very interesting read.

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This book is an amazing, bilingual with everything you could want from a story; love, action, mystery and great characters. The magical realism in the book is woven in so well it's very easy to believe and adds a little something extra to the story. The constant crossing between Mexico and the US is poetic in so many way and there are comparisons between the two cultures dotted throughout. I loved the characters Fulgencio and Carolina. I loved that Fulgencio took responsibility for his actions, despite the curse that he could have easily blamed his actions on. Carolina also is a strong character, who constantly stands up for herself and will speak out. Their journey is nothing short of epic.

This book is fantastic! I highly recommend it for anyone looking for an epic story of love and loss that spans decades.

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i would say, as of now, this will be one of septembers best releases. this story made me feel so much and i loved each character.

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So Fulgencio starts to live again the day that the husband of the woman he loves dies. Yes, the story comes with magical realism. It is well written but I didn’t like the main character, Fulgencio, fully, because... well, because I didn’t.

So the story goes back to show how the couple met and the stupidity that separated them. Yes, it was something so stupid that I figured it out as soon as they broke up, and I was just further upset when I confirmed it later on. I mean... come on!

There are ghost that talk to Fulgencio which reminded me of Isabel Allende’s “La casa de los espíritus. And the love story (about second chances) reminded me of “Love in the time of cholera” but with a younger couple.

There is also some type of curse that Fulgencio needs to brake.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this title.

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In the 1950s, tensions remain high in the border town of La Frontera. Penny loafers and sneakers clash with boots and huaraches. Bowling shirts and leather jackets compete with guayaberas. Convertibles fend with motorcycles. Yet amidst the discord, young love blooms at first sight between Fulgencio Ramirez, the son of impoverished immigrants, and Carolina Mendelssohn, the local pharmacist's daughter. But as they'll soon find out, their bonds will be undone by a force more powerful than they could have known.

Thirty years after their first fateful encounter, Fulgencio Ramirez, RPh, is conducting his daily ritual of reading the local obituaries in his cramped pharmacy office. After nearly a quarter of a century of waiting, Fulgencio sees the news he's been hoping for: his nemesis, the husband of Carolina Mendelssohn, has died.- Goodreads

This book was fantastic. I can't say that the characters themselves are memorable but the story is written so well that the way they are is just fine. 

Fulgenico as well as Carolina are very surface level characters. There isn't anything too deep about them. Its Fulgenico's magical ancestry that keeps this book going and brings everything together. This book is detailed without sounding long winded and I loved the fact that the Spanish language is prominent in this novel. The author doesn't shy away from his culture and its history and I love it. It makes for an extremely rich story. 

Everything is about Fulgenico and Carolina. The story revolves around their relationship from its beginning to its end. There are a lot of side stories and bring everything together. But what sold me on the book was the last few chapters.  It was perfect.

Overall, this seemingly complex story is written fairly straight forward but really rich in culture and history.  As I previously mentioned the book is fantastic but if you are not one for history and culture with a sprinkle of romance, this book is not for you.

3.5 Pickles

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