THE ZONE: A NOVEL As yet unpublished
An acclaimed translator of mixed descent is faced with dementia, a threat to her already conflicted sense of identity. She plans to leave her reclusive Manhattan existence to return to the Latin America of her childhood, but first is compelled to sort through family memorabilia she’s avoided for years. Memories, narrated in in flashback scenes, and unexpected revelations lead her to a deeper understanding of her insecure mother and abusive father, and of her crucial relationships with the maids who raised her. The discovery of an unsuspected grandfather further upends her sense of identity. At moments throughout the book she serenely contemplates suicide by drowning should her mind continue to fail her.
She, always super precise, is becoming increasingly confused, her mind displaced to regions unknown. A few days ago she showed up at a doctor’s only to be told her appointment was for the following week. She boarded a wrong subway and was lost in an unfamiliar neighborhood––not for the first time. Streets trafficked with cars and trucks and bicycles and sidewalks jammed with people muttering on cell phones have become bewildering, terrifying. Lists and post-its proliferate––stuck to the computer, the kitchen cabinets, the mirror in the bathroom, where they drift steamily down to the sink––petals of dying flowers.
Her father is getting out of the car. Yolanda shocks into a run. She’s got to stop him. But even if he hadn’t been yelling and waving his gun, she needs to get back into the car, crouch down on the floor so the dusty children with almost no clothes can’t see her, can’t see the embroidered dress their mother had ironed, can’t see her white cotton socks and shiny black patent leather shoes. Minutes earlier, she’d been so proud of that outfit. Luisa too had been proud, turning her around, smoothing a crumple in the fabric. “Oh qué bonita! Mi linda princesita.” My beautiful little princess, Luisa said. My princess, mine. She is Luisa’s little princess. . . .