Consider this, seänora

by Harriet Doerr

Paper Book, 1993





New York : Harcourt Brace & Co., c1993.


In her customary crystalline prose Harriet Doerr examines the lives of four North American expatriates in a small Mexican village of a thousand souls. Set on the barren mesa of Amapolas, we see the newcomers settling in their adobe houses and gradually adjusting to an environment of excesses - hot sun, torrential downpour, sweeping landscapes, and a vastness of untouched nature - and watch as each is drawn into the aura of this land and changed. For young, recently divorced Sue Ames - artist and part owner of the land in Amapolas - this countryside of wet earth and jasmine, animal dung and charcoal fire, as well as the inhabitants, enable her to see her own life more clearly. But for her partner, Bud Loomis, ambitious investor, fleeing tax evasion charges in Arizona, Amapolas is a chance to escape. Then there is Frances Bowles, for whom this new, exotic place is a constant enigma that is at once simplistically seductive and eternally elusive; in planning to create a new future for herself, she succeeds in an unexpected way. For her mother, Ursula Bowles, seventy-nine and widowed, the land is critical. Born in Mexico, she returns not only because of her love for the place and its people but to connect - as best she can - the end of her life with its beginning. All their experiences are brought vividly to life as they interact with the Mexicans, who observe the Americans with a curious mixture of fascination and tolerance. With an unfailingly true ear, eye, and voice, Harriet Doerr's story unfolds clearly and beautifully, equally accurate in its observations of the American, the Mexicans, and the landscape that contains them.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member edwinbcn
Harriet Doerr came to be a writer at a very high age, clearly free from careerist ambitions or other vanity, and that shows in her writing. Set in Mexico, where Doerr lived many years, this quiet novel develops a few story line, allowing the reader to focus more on the characters than on action.
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Not much thicker than the average novel, nonetheless, by the end of it, the reader feels as if they have spent a long time with the characters, and gotten to know them intimately. The reader almost comes away from the novel, as if they were one of the tenants of the estate, in the quiet settlement of Amapolas. The story enables the reader to develop sympathy, even for a dubious character like Bud Loomis, or other eccentrics, such as Don Enrique or the concert pianist.

A very touching, and beautifully written novel.
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LibraryThing member kakadoo202
a nice flowing story without any up and downs but steady moving story line. A quiet book. lots of reflection on life and people. first it took a moment to really connect all the different people but along the story the grow on me and into a full and round book.
LibraryThing member arubabookwoman
Harriet Doerr didn't start writing until she was in her 60's, and like her only other novel, Stones for Ibarra, this book is set among a group of expatriates in Mexico. Sue Ames and Bud Loomis, who have just met, decide to buy some land with a crumbling hacienda, each planning to build a house on
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the land, and develop other lots to sell. The novel is told as a series of episodic stories, each roughly self-contained and focusing on a different character, but told chronologically over a period of about 5 years. Overall, the book paints a picture of rural Mexico in the 1960's and the group of wealthy expatriates who lived there. I did find that the book takes a rather condescending attitude toward the Mexican people with whom the expatriates were involved.

3 stars
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LibraryThing member TadAD
I debated four stars for this as, while reading it, I felt like a was super enjoying it. It's only in retrospect that I feel like I only enjoyed it. Nothing much happens, just a glimpse of the life of some expatriates as they sojourn in Mexico, but that's okay. It was a really good glimpse. It's
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easy to see how this was listed as a notable book for the year by the Times.
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