Sabrina & Corina: Stories (Hardcover)
I declare Sabrina & Corina required reading for all Denverites (transplants especially)!
You’ll find some familiar place names here: Colfax, Cheesman, Central Library, Tacos Jalisco, and the neighborhood formerly known as the Northside, for example. They are the backdrop to Fajardo-Anstine’s perspective on the gentrification of the West and the lives of its all but entirely displaced residents. Follow her cast of indigenous Latinas, among them a young girl at home in the shadow of the Sangres, a just-released prisoner, a sex worker, a grandmother on Galapago, and a pair of cousins, one who lives, one who dies, as they grapple with their histories and, often, their Mile High roots. If nothing else, read the title story—it’s haunted me for months!
Fajardo-Anstine is the new local literary talent to brag about. Her voice is necessary and indomitably clear, and she shines a true, unwavering light on our neighbors, our coworkers, ourselves. She takes no guff, and neither do her heroines.— Lainie Formby, Adult Frontlist Buyer
Latinas of Indigenous descent living in the American West take center stage in this haunting debut story collection—a powerful meditation on friendship, mothers and daughters, and the deep-rooted truths of our homelands.
“Here are stories that blaze like wildfires, with characters who made me laugh and broke my heart.”—Sandra Cisneros
Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s magnetic story collection breathes life into her Latina characters of indigenous ancestry and the land they inhabit in the American West. Against the remarkable backdrop of Denver, Colorado—a place that is as fierce as it is exquisite—these women navigate the land the way they navigate their lives: with caution, grace, and quiet force.
In “Sugar Babies,” ancestry and heritage are hidden inside the earth but tend to rise during land disputes. “Any Further West” follows a sex worker and her daughter as they leave their ancestral home in southern Colorado only to find a foreign and hostile land in California. In “Tomi,” a woman leaves prison and finds herself in a gentrified city that is a shadow of the one she remembers from her childhood. And in the title story, “Sabrina & Corina,” a Denver family falls into a cycle of violence against women, coming together only through ritual.
Sabrina & Corina is a moving narrative of unrelenting feminine power and an exploration of the universal experiences of abandonment, heritage, and an eternal sense of home.
Advance praise for Sabrina & Corina
“Sabrina & Corina isn’t just good, it’s masterful storytelling. Fajardo-Anstine is a fearless writer: her women are strong and scarred witnesses of the violations of their homelands, their culture, their bodies; her plots turn and surprise, unerring and organic in their comprehensiveness; her characters break your heart, but you keep on going because you know you are in the hands of a master. Her stories move through the heart of darkness and illuminate it with the soul of truth.”—Julia Alvarez, author of How the García Girls Lost Their Accents
“A terrific collection of stories—fiercely and beautifully made.” —Joy Williams
“Fajardo-Anstine’s prose blossoms on the page; her scenes and characters develop so vividly that they’re likely to leave an impression lasting long after you stop reading.”—BuzzFeed News
About the Author
Kali Fajardo-Anstine is from Denver, Colorado. Her fiction has appeared in The American Scholar, Boston Review, Bellevue Literary Review, The Idaho Review, Southwestern American Literature, and elsewhere. Fajardo-Anstine has received fellowships from MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and Hedgebrook. She received her MFA from the University of Wyoming and has lived across the country from Durango, Colorado, to Key West, Florida.
“Here are stories that blaze like wildfires, with characters who made me laugh and broke my heart, believable in everything they said and did. How tragic that American letters hasn’t met these women of the West before, women who were here before America was America. And how tragic that these working-class women haven’t seen themselves in the pages of American lit before. Thank you for honoring their lives, Kali. I welcome them and you.”—Sandra Cisneros
“Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s collection of stories, Sabrina & Corina, isn’t just good, it’s masterful storytelling. Fajardo-Anstine is a fearless writer: her women are strong and scarred witnesses of the violations of their homelands, their culture, their bodies; her plots turn and surprise, unerring and organic in their comprehensiveness; her characters break your heart, but you keep on going because you know you are in the hands of a master. (Is this really her first book?) Her stories move through the heart of darkness and illuminate it with the soul of truth. Comparisons came to mind: the Alice Munro of the high plains, the Toni Morrison of indigenous Latinas—but why compare her to anybody? She is her own unique voice, and her work will easily find a place, not just in Latinx literature but in American literature and beyond. Can you see me? I’m giving this collection a standing ovation! Can you hear me? I’m calling out Brava! Brava! to Kali Fajardo-Anstine from a new fan and aficionada of her work.”—Julia Alvarez, author of How the García Girls Lost Their Accents
“Eleven achingly realistic stories set in Denver and southern Colorado bear witness to the lives of Latina women of Indigenous descent trying to survive generations of poverty, racism, addiction, and violence. . . . Fajardo-Anstine writes with a keen understanding of the power of love even when it's shot through with imperfections. . . . Fajardo-Anstine takes aim at our country's social injustices and ills without succumbing to pessimism. The result is a nearly perfect collection of stories that is emotionally wrenching but never without glimmers of resistance and hope.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Latina and Indigenous American women who long to be seen—and see themselves—are the beating heart of the stories in Fajardo-Anstine's rich and radiant debut. . . . Sharing her characters' southern Colorado homelands, Fajardo-Anstine imbues her stories with a strong sense of place and the infinite unseen generations that coexist in even single moments.”—Booklist (starred review)
“A terrific collection of stories—fiercely and beautifully made.”—Joy Williams
“Kali Fajardo-Anstine writes about hard truths in women’s lives so knowingly, and with such a deft touch, I felt hyper-alert, as well as implicated and imperiled. The book is about belief, coping, yearning, and proceeding in spite of adversity (that is, the times we stay alive). The final act of the first story tells us everything we need to know about what territory we’ll be entering: In these achingly convincing stories, the writer is writing delicately, symbolically, about mortality itself.”—Ann Beattie