Monday, April 21, 2008

Where the Flame Trees Bloom by Alma Flor Ada

book 4 of 6 for the Novella Challenge
book 4 of 9 for the Orbis Terrarum Challenge

I feel like the world is a more beautiful place, having read this charming book. Alma Flor Ada takes us to the Cuba of her childhood, and reading her stories, I felt like I was sitting at the feet of a beloved Gramother, listening to her tell me of the life she knew. The stories feel that intimate and familiar. We meet people, both relatives and friends, who show compassion and a zest for life - from the blind great grandmother who can sew rag dolls by touch and the hired man who plays the accordian at night. The text was so lyrical, I truly felt like I was living amongst the trees and the memories of those people who made Alma into the woman she is.

The novella is a series of vingettes, with each chapter as a titled story - I think my favorites were "Mathematics" and "The Rag Dolls," both of which are about her beloved great grandmother. Because of their elegant simplicty, I think these stories could be read with pleasure to (or by) children as young as 8 or 9, but appriciated on a different level by adults. Highly reommended.


bethany (dreadlock girl) said...

OH, this will be one that I read at some point. I am excited to read it since you say it is just like being with her family, and a family gathering. Many times I long for something international with a bit more tranquility, or less depressing ending...this sounds like it would be a great fit!

Way to go on your OT challenge books!!! you are amazing.

Alma Flor Ada said...

What a wonderful blog!
Thanks, Corinne, for the beautiful review of my book. It gives me great joy that you were able to become acquainted with the world I describe, your reading about it keeps it alive, am instant longer. And by sharing your thoughts you have made it richer. What more can an author ask for?
All my best wishes for you and your readers in 2009. Fondly, Alma Flor Ada

Lynda said...

Thanks for this review - I'lll look out for this ;0)

Alma Flor Ada said...

I am in the process of updating my website and have reread your review of Where the Flame Trees Bloom, which I will post in the page devoted to that book.
It is certainly the most beautiful review anyone could have written, and it has moved me today as it did the first time I read it. So I want to thank you once more.

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