Antigua and My Life Before: A Novel

Front Cover
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Aug 13, 2002 - Fiction
2 Reviews
Josefa Ferrer, a famous Chilean singer and star, awakens one morning to read in the Santiago newspaper that her best friend, Violeta, has been involved in a brutal act of violence. Overwhelmed with regret and plagued with guilt for not having foreseen the tragedy, Josefa feels compelled to tell Violeta's life story--one marked by lost ideals, disillusionment, and grief--which is ultimately Josefa's story, too. Through the interwoven lives of these two women, Marcela Serrano explores how the demands of a woman's role as mother, wife, lover, and friend are frequently at odds with her own dreams and aspirations, and how easily the fragile bonds of friendship and family can be strained to the breaking point. For Josefa and Violeta, it is only in Antigua, under the watchful eyes of "the others"--a chorus of female ancestral spirits who testify to the women's defining moments of strength and courage--that Josefa and Violeta will discover that even in the aftermath of violence and betrayal they have control over their destinies and their redemption.

Exquisitely crafted and written in beautiful, lyrical prose, Marcela Serrano's unforgettable novel about friendship, forgiveness, and second chances speaks to every woman who has experienced the wrenching divide between professional ambition and family responsibility, who has been torn between the excitement of illicit passion and the security of marriage, who has craved the thrill of success while yearning for solitude in an often chaotic, invasive world.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

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Antigua and my life before: a novel

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Josefa, a famous Chilean singer, reads in the morning newspaper that her closest friend, Violeta, an architect, has just suffered a truly horrifying tragedy. Josefa feels that her friend's story must ... Read full review

Review: Antigua and My Life Before: A Novel

User Review  - Allison Long - Goodreads

I don't know what it was about this novel, but I loved it. The language (even translated) spoke to me. This is a book about women for women, because it is a book about friendship and the very deep ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
13
Section 3
23
Section 4
31
Section 5
42
Section 6
57
Section 7
71
Section 8
127
Section 12
177
Section 13
187
Section 14
199
Section 15
207
Section 16
211
Section 17
251
Section 18
259
Section 19
306

Section 9
141
Section 10
152
Section 11
172
Section 20
317
Section 21
324
Copyright

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Popular passages

Page 10 - There are such spring-like nights here, when a blade of grass pushes up through the soil and the fresh dawn is a green pillow under the skeleton of a dead horse. And all the limbs of a woman plead for the ache of birth. And women come down to lie like sick sheep by the wells — to heal their bodies, their faces blackened with year-long thirst for a child's cry. There are such spring-like nights here when lightning pierces the black soil with silver knives and pregnant women approach the white tables...
Page 10 - ... all the limbs of a woman plead for the ache of birth. And women come down like sick sheep by the wells — to heal their bodies, their faces blackened with year-long thirst for a child's cry. There are such spring-like nights here when lightning pierces the black soil with silver knives and pregnant women approach the white tables of the hospital with quiet steps and smile at the unborn child and perhaps at death. There are such spring-like nights here when a blade of grass pushes up through...

About the author (2002)

Marcela Serrano was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1951. In 1994, her first novel won the Literary Prize in Santiago, and her second book won the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz prize, awarded to the best Hispano-American novel written by a woman. She now teaches at the University of Vicente Pérez Rosales in Mexico City.

Margaret Sayers Peden is an award-winning translator and has worked closely with numerous illustrious Latin American writers, including Carlos Fuentes, Isabel Allende, and Octavio Paz.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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