Tales From the Town of Widows
by James Canon
From a new literary star comes a beautifully crafted story about a group of women in a Colombian village who find their lives changed while their husbands and sons are away fighting a deadly civil war. The women of Mariquita - made widows when their men are swept away by the army or rebel forces - learn hard lessons about love and survival. Forced to grow in extraordinary ways, they challenge the tenets of male-dominated society, discover power with all its pitfalls and strive to create an entirely new social order, an all-female utopia. Their narrative is punctuated by short vignettes of the individual travails of the men and boys - left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries, national army officers and civilians - caught amidst these hellish forces. For the first 18 years of his life, the author, James Can, lived in his native Colombia and this pitch-perfect book - darkly comedic, its characters brilliantly etched - is a mighty achievement, an entirely fresh, startling perspective to Colombia's catastrophe where the longest and bloodiest civil war in this hemisphere has raged for 40 years.