The MortificationsThe Mortifications by Derek Palacio

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A rather slow, but lyrically-adept account of a Cuban family that immigrates (in part) to Connecticut only to be pulled back for a number of reasons.

There is an abundance of description in this book, a good amount of it seemingly unnecessary, but where Palacio shines is in the subtle magical realism that you come to accept as reality as you make your way through the novel.

At some points transitions are little awkward, if not forced, and it was easy to be distracted while reading this book. It never really grabbed my full attention except for maybe once towards the end.

The ending for that matter feels like Palacio realized he had to finish the book off soon and wouldn’t make it at the very moderate pace he set off on, so everything is tied together rather hastily and with little consequence.

That said, Palacio is obviously a good writer when it comes to vivid descriptions and exploring the emotions of his characters, and I was moved at the climax – so it wasn’t all for naught.

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Picture by Betty Nudler // CC BY 2.0

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