I’ve been on quite the amazing book streak recently, and one of the highlights of the past weeks has certainly been Laura Resau’s magnificently nuanced and poetic novel, Red Glass. If you have not yet had the pleasure of reading this book, I’m very envious, because it swept me up completely and immediately turned me into a serious Laura Resau fan.
Sophie’s life changes forever after one phone call from a hospital. The call concerns a six-year-old Mexican boy who was found in the desert, dehydrated and alone, the only survivor of a group of people who were following a guide across the border to Arizona. Her family gets this phone call because the boy, Pablo, was carrying Sophie’s stepfather’s business card. Pablo comes to live with the family and it isn’t long before they cannot imagine their lives without him. Sophie calls him her Principito, or Little Prince, and she loves him with her whole heart. A year later, Sophie’s parents get in touch with Pablo’s relatives in Mexico and Sophie journeys to Pablo’s hometown, along with her Aunt Dika, Dika’s new boyfriend Mr. Lorenzo and his son Ángel, so that Pablo can decide where he wants to live permanently. This journey is difficult for Sophie for many reasons. Of course, she can’t stand the thought of losing Pablo. Beyond this, she has always been afraid of just about everything, from food poisoning to germs to cancer. She has no idea how this trip will test her strength and change her life.
I am a big fan of foreign films. My family teases me because for every good one I manage to rent / drag them to see, I end up picking about 5 sketchy and/or completely weirdo ones (they’ll never let me forget the “Monks playing soccer movie”). Still, I’ll take a great foreign film over Hollywood schlocky drama any day of the week. The reason? With a great foreign film, I almost always feel like I’ve witnessed another way of being in the world, vastly different from my life, that I might not ever have the chance to experience. I felt this way the whole time I was reading Red Glass. It made me think a lot about what people need to be happy, what makes communities work, and how shared experiences can reach across time and culture.
Red Glass offers Sophie’s inner journey and physical journey to readers in lyrical prose that you’ll find yourself rereading and remembering long after you’re finished reading. This is a story about how memory shapes identity, and how harshness and beauty are found so often side-by-side. Sophie learns how to trust, to take risks and how to let go. I read a review that compared Resau’s writing to Barbara Kingsolver’s books, and I thought that this comparison was right on. With both of these writers, readers experience a strong sense of place, attention to setting and the natural world, rich characters and a definite soulfulness in the story and quality of the writing. I am sure Red Glass would only keep revealing more of its richness upon rereading. I plan to do just that before next month, when it is a featured title all of May at readergirlz.
Red Glass is published by Delacorte.