“With his slender but deceptively weighty books, which are at once breezy and melancholic, bemused and bitter, [Halfon] opens up worlds to readers in return.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)( link)
“An unforgettable exploration of one family’s fluid, collective memory.”
“Halfon’s magnificent prose and abundant storytelling prowess work in tandem to create an irresistible style. . . . As with the ghostly, evocative trails of smoke that have adorned each of Halfon’s English edition covers, Mourning is possessed by traces of the ethereal, the mysterious, and the shadowy. . . . [It] functions wonderfully as the third volume in Halfon’s bittersweet, doleful inquest into family folklore, remembrance, and indelible generational anguish.”
Jeremy Garber, Powell’s Books (Portland, OR)( link)
In Mourning, Eduardo Halfon’s eponymous narrator travels to Poland, Italy, the U.S., and the Guatemalan countryside in search of secrets he can barely name. He follows memory’s strands back to his maternal roots in Jewish Poland and to the contradictory, forbidden stories of his father’s Lebanese-Jewish immigrant family, specifically surrounding the long-ago childhood death by drowning of his uncle Salomón. But what, or who, really killed Salomón? As he goes deeper, he realizes that the truth lies buried in his own past, in the brutal Guatemala of the 1970s and his subsequent exile to the American South.
Mourning is a subtle and stirring reflection on the formative and destructive power of family mythology, silence, and loss.
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