Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Monday, September 12, 2005

Hunger's Brides:Baroque Banquet for the soul

This debut novel is truly one of those labours of love you hear about so much. It took 12 years
for author Paul Anderson to recreate the world of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz,a Mexican legend
who was clearly trapped in the wrong century. Born in 1648.she taught herself to read by age
three and before Juana hit her teens,she had read nearly every book in her grandfather's vast
library,which included Greek philosophers and Eygptian histories.

At age 16,Juana's extraordinary intelligence and natural gift for poetry lead her to become a
handmaiden at the court of the Vice Queen,in which she realized that she was still considered
an oddity. Juana became a nun and wrote many poems(such as "The Divine Narcissus" which
interwove the temptation of Christ with the greek myth)that had her crossing swords with
church authorites. She took a vow of silence(signing the decree in her own blood)at age 40
and died from the plague five years later. Sor Juana is one of those mysterious genuises that
pop into being and leave behind a body of work that inspires many scholars.

Sor Juana's history inspires Beulah Limosneros,a modern day college student,to research all
she can about her while engaging the more than scholarly notice of Don Gregory, a notorious
womanizer and her American Lit advisor. The framework of the book is that these are the
research papers that Beulah left behind after a bloody encounter with Don Gregory that gets
him into trouble with the law and his "editing" of Beulah's writings on Sor Juana should help
to clear him. Beulah's own personal diaries and letters are included,which paint a picture of
a very troubled young woman,haunted by past sexual abuse,mental breakdowns and eating
disorders.

Don tries to cast doubts on Beulah's truthfulness(an Unreliable Narrator trying to create one
himself;pretty slick)but the one voice you totally trust in is Juana's. Her rich and haunting
tones as she decribes the glories and frustrations of being able to live the life of the mind
with those who can't or won't understand her are achingly gorgeous and give the reader a
heightened sensation of entering another world which is both alluring and off putting at
once.

Hunger's Brides has already gained a reputation for its length(1,358 pages)in the US and I hope
that,as in Canada where it was first published,HB will gather quite a few praises for the content
of it's covers. It definately will inspire more interest into the life and work of Sor Juana. If you
use the link provided in the title,you can go to the official Hunger's Brides website to find out
more about her and the brilliant author who has written one of the best books of the decade.

5 comments:

FB said...

i love your reviews. i feel smarter just by having you on our blog roll. seriously i think i might read this one. so cool. thanx!!!!

lady t said...

Thanks,FB-one of the things I love about the book biz is spreading the good word on a great book:)

How's the Pop Tart shirt? Still working ok,I hope:D

Jake McCafferty said...

A blood oath? Now that's serious. I'm like FB. I will start quoting books I've never read now. LOL

lady t said...

Reading is fun and funny mental!

FB said...

i love my shirt. i need to model it soon. i washed it and it didn't fall apart. i think this is a good sign.