THE THREADS OF THE HEART by Carole Martinez

THE THREADS OF THE HEART

KIRKUS REVIEW

Debut novelist Martinez attempts an ambitious tale about a woman who creates remarkable transformations with sewing materials, but the story unravels before the end.

The narrative follows Frasquita, a folklike heroine who possesses a special gift. Like generations of women before her, she is gifted with mystical powers during a special ritual. Her ability to craft beautiful objects and to heal those who are broken is viewed with suspicion by the townspeople of Santavela, and many shun her as a sorceress. When Frasquita marries José, the wheelwright, the couple has five children and each possesses a unique quality. But José teeters back and forth between sanity and madness. At one point, he moves out of the house to live in the chicken coop with his beloved chickens; after returning to the family, he becomes obsessed with numbers and doesn’t sleep for over a month. Frasquita is always there to help him back to normalcy. As other characters are introduced, the saga lengthens. Floating in and out of the village are Heredia, a young man who’s inherited his father’s olive grove; Lucia, the village whore and Frasquita’s friend who marries the elder Heredia; Blanca, a midwife; and Eugenio, a man of sinister character who becomes the village healer for a small time. After a series of events, Frasquita gathers her children and begins an arduous journey that eventually takes them to Africa. As they travel, they meet a group of anarchists, and Frasquita saves the life of Salvador, their leader. She also has another daughter, Soledad, who narrates the winding tale. Though Martinez’s prose is often moving and surprisingly lyrical, even during the goriest of moments, the story becomes frayed and somewhat disorganized as the author delves into excruciating minutiae about the lives of every character she introduces and every situation the family encounters.

A three-part book that would have been more interesting without the extraneous details.

Pub Date: Dec. 31st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-60945-087-8
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Europa Editions
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2012




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