Review of The Mortifications by Derek Palacio

I received The Mortifications by Derek Palacio through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for a review and honestly, I couldn’t make it past the first fifty pages. Set in 1980 during the Mariel boatlift, this novel follows the Encarnaciones, a Cuban family that is torn apart by the revolution. While Uxbal, the patriarch of the family, chooses to remain in Cuba, Soledad and their two children Isabel and Ulises migrate to Hartford, CT in search of a better life.

I had such high hopes for this book. Although this novel took place during an era that I am quite unfamiliar with, I looked forward to learning from and falling in love with what I thought would be a beautiful immigration story. However, Palacio offered less of a historical context than I had anticipated and moreover, the pace of the novel was excruciatingly slow. While I appreciated the lyrical nature of Palacio’s writing style, the lack of action of any sort failed to keep my attention beyond the first few chapters.

Ultimately, I am quite frustrated with myself for being unable to finish this book to the end. I truly wanted to love this book but the strange character dynamic and painfully slow pace was simply too much for me to get past. I would, however, give other works by Palacio a fair chance because his overall writing style was something I found quite enjoyable.

1 out of 5 stars


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