Not Myself Without You
In Not Myself Without You, a working-class Puerto Rican family of the 1950s performs occult rituals in their living room and must live surrounded by the resulting spirits, ghosts, and witches. Chronicling nearly two decades of the family’s history, the story involves characters who are connected to Puerto Rico but who move through the Caribbean, Central America, Spain, and New York, pulled by the conditions of the times and their own intense desires. As their stories come to light through fragments of prayers, sayings, poems, newspaper articles, and excerpts from books—a sort of family scrapbook—the characters themselves speak to a wide range of issues in voices that are familiar and humorous. Based on oral history and research, Not Myself Without You is the author’s own memoir with a strong fictional twist.
“This novel's understated but wicked humor, as well as its eroticism, are wonderful lenses with which to approach somber themes like abuse, trauma, poverty and political violence. Its aesthetic unorthodoxy that splices together prayers, rituals, family photographs, popular sayings, and interviews, among other imaginative sources, makes the narrative even more compelling.” —Raquel Z. Rivera, La Bloga
"A strong connection to the supernatural makes life all the more unusual. Not Myself Without You is a novel from Lourdes Vazquez as she creates a story of a working class family in Puerto Rico who use their living room as a connection to the spirit world. Drawing from her own experiences, Vazquez creates a unique blend of memoir and fiction, creating a highly readable novel. Not Myself Without You is a fine and much recommended pick for general fiction collections, highly recommended." —Midwest Book Review
“The author articulates the surreal and magical truths in a poetic narrative that captures the history, the supernatural, and the cultural nuances of Puerto Rico. The unassuming eroticism and the direct access to character emotions are especially refreshing. Best of all, there is a wicked humor underlying this story that speaks to us personally and spiritually, a wicked humor that belies the universal human fallacies of ego and hubris. . . . Highly recommended for all types of libraries and bookstores.” —Berlin Loa, REFORMA
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