This follows the story of Iso, a young Guatemalan fertility clinic worker. After an affair with one of the doctors, whose life changes after an accident, Iso finds herself pregnant. Her lover is back in the US with his wife. It is when Iso has given birth to her daughter that this story takes a change, her child is abducted and she knows who took her. She makes the decision to take her daughter back at all costs.
This is a very simply written story, but very effective. Iso is a very determined character with her heart and mind-set on one thing, her daughter. For me the author has tentatively gone into illegal border crossings, illegal immigration and exploitation, but the story is not about these issues, it is about a young girl. I found this simplistic approach kept the story moving and didn’t get bogged down in the politics.
I would recommend to readers of crime/ mystery, it does border on thriller occasionally, but this is a story about a young girls journey of determination. It is a quiet story rather than the blood and guns, guns blazing one. A simple story, simply told but very profound.
I would like to thank Duckworth Publishers for my copy of this book. My thoughts are unbiased, honest and my own.
Íso Perdido, a young Guatemalan woman, works at a fertility clinic at Ixchel, named for the Mayan goddess of creation and destruction. Íso tends to the rich women who visit the clinic for the supposed conception-enhancing properties of the local lake. She is also the lover of Dr. Mann, the American doctor in residence. When an accident forces the doctor to leave Guatemala abruptly, Íso is abandoned, pregnant. After the birth, tended to by the manager of the clinic, the baby disappears.
Determined to reclaim her daughter, Íso follows a trail north, eventually crossing illegally into a United States where the rich live in safe zones, walled away from the indigent masses. Traveling without documentation, and with little money, Íso must penetrate this world, and in this place of menace and shifting boundaries, she must determine who she can trust and how much, aware that she might lose her daughter forever.
In David Bergen’s Stranger, with its uncanny lake, human monsters, and a stolen child, an ageless story is freshly recast in a modern setting, where themes of dislocation and disruption, exploitation and vulnerability, rich and poor collide. Intense and beautifully rendered, Stranger is a powerful and affecting novel for our times.
About the Author
Bergen’s debut novel, A Year of Lesser, was a New York Times Notable Book, and a winner of the McNally Robinson Book of the Year award in 1997. His 2002 novel The Case of Lena S. was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for English language fiction, and won the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award. It was also a finalist for the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award and the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction.
Additionally, Bergen has received the 1993 John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer, and the 2000 Canadian Literary Award for Short Story.
In 2008, he published his fifth novel, The Retreat, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and which won the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award and the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction.
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