the book of unknown americans-cristina henriquez

“it’s about making something that the smartest guy in the room will feel, and that the dumbest guy in the room will feel. it’s not easy, but it’s important”

“Maribel had the kind of beauty that reduced people to simpletons.” (10)

“All these different veins, but who knew which one led to the heart?” (261)

i just finished watching beautiful losers by aaron rose and there are a lot of great points in it-thanks, TPL. one that resonated for me was the point that if you’re happy-you don’t feel the need to create something to make your world better. so for all of us who go through lulls-it’s not actually a reason to feel bad about it-it’s cause to be happy that we’re happy. i’ve had some moments about re/thinking things like obligations, or evolution, and i can chalk this up to another one in that category.

“I assumed that everything that would go wrong in our lives already had.” (3)

“They assumed conditions would improve. But the country was so ravaged that their hearts never stopped breaking.” (78)

“But after the accident, under the gathering clouds of fate, something changed. We still loved each other as much as we ever had, but it was as if neither of us knew what to do with that love anymore. It was as if our sorrow was so consuming that there was no room for anything else.” (153)

“Maybe people would be shocked into action. But after a while I realized that it was all just spectacle. People of decapitated bodies weren’t helping anyone. So I wanted to come to the other side, across the border. No one here wants to admit it, but the United States is part of Mexico’s problem. The United States is feeding the beast, man. I thought maybe if I came here, I could make a difference.” (238)

“But it was only a word-justice. It was only a concept, and it wasn’t enough.” (268)

“Sleep was like wealth, elusive and for other people.” (96)

this is a lovely book, picked up once again thanks to the philly free library podcast. i don’t know why nobody asked (maybe, like me, they read the book after hearing the talk) why maribel’s voice was never written in-i guess i understand that the overall political narrative was not one that she could speak to, but in some ways, her voice would speak most to that. and definitely to the underlying narrative of love that was very much centred around those who loved her, so much.

“But it would be okay, I told myself, that she wouldn’t find me. It was like she had said-finding is for things that are lost. We would be thousands of miles apart from now on and we would go on with our lives and get older and change and grow, but we would never have to look for each other. Inside each of us, I was pretty sure, was a place for the other. Nothing that had happened and nothing that would ever happen would make that less true.” (264)

it was a lovely day with questionable weather yesterday for word on the street catching up with angela
and eating too much food. we bought books and talked about books and walked with bikes and a turtlehead. i love that i have friends with whom i never run out of things to talk about (and that they make me tiny animals) and it’s refreshing to find my tribe of those who endeavour never to stop learning.

“English was such a dense, tight language. So many hard letters, like miniature walls. Not open with vowels the way Spanish was. Our throats open, our mouths open, our hearts open. In English, the sounds were closed. They thudded to the floor. And yet, there was something magnificent about it.” (61)

libraries used: annette street, bloor/gladstone, lillian smith
most cherished library materials: one on one by john feinstein, dinner for schmucks, beautiful losers
duolingo status: italian level 11, spanish level 22, 240 streak, 2053 lingots
purchased at WOTS: ablutions by patrick dewitt


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