THE STILLNESS OF LOVE AND EXILE, Rosa Martha Villarreal's third novel, is a tale of adventure and romance with visionary and philosophical undertones. As with her previous work, Villarreal questions the essential nature of time and identity.
Lilia, a beautiful young Mexican girl, is raped by a drug lord. Unable to face her family afterwards, sheflees with him. Eventually she escapes her tormenter and moves to a small town in northern Mexico which is steeped in its Spanish past. She falls in love with three different men. The first, San Andres Gabriel,"believed himself to be a traveling composer of boleros from Seville." The second, Miguel, a Californian, has come to the town seeking knowledge of his Jewish roots. The third, Agustin San Andres, is a guitar maker. Yet all three men appear to be manifestations of one being. The search for identity is a leitmotif that runs throughout. Characters seek wholeness through connection with the past both on an individual and collective level.
The guitarist seeks to find himself through Lilia. Miguel seeks himself through his ancestral roots, long concealed. "Are we dreams inhabiting a body?...There are more invisible than visible natures in the universe." Miguel dreams "of an Arabian seaport with...busymarket-places and synagogues and minarets. Did these images arise from his own genealogical rivers? Or were they those of his wife?" Through the medium of the novel, Villarreal questions the nature of reality. Can a person inhabit more than one time and place? Are there multiple universes, asKabbalists believe? Time and space are dealt with as fluid, leaving the reader with intriguing material for thought.
Top of FormBottom of Form
Causes Maria Espinosa Supports
Amnesty International, KPFA, anything to ameliorate homelessness and to make shelters more livable