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A young woman from Minnesota searches out the Colombian father she’s never known in this powerful exploration of what family really means He loved Colombia too much to leave it. The explanation from her Minnesotan mother was enough to satisfy a child’s curiosity about her missing father. But at twenty-one, Anika Fajardo wanted more. She wanted to know her father better and A young woman from Minnesota searches out the Colombian father she’s never known in this powerful exploration of what family really means He loved Colombia too much to leave it. The explanation from her Minnesotan mother was enough to satisfy a child’s curiosity about her missing father. But at twenty-one, Anika Fajardo wanted more. She wanted to know her father better and to know what kind of country could have such a hold on him. And so, in 1995, Fajardo boarded a plane and flew to Colombia to discover a birthplace that was foreign to her and a father who was a stranger. There she learns that sometimes, no matter how many pieces you find, fitting together a family history isn’t easy. With her tentative entry into her father’s world, Fajardo steps on a path that will take her in surprising directions, toward unsuspected secrets about her family and herself. Set against the changing backdrops of Colombia and the American Midwest, her journey carries her back to the 1970s and the beginnings of her parents’ broken marriage, and forward to the present day, where the magic and reality of love and heartache—and her own experience as a parent—await her. The way is strewn with obstacles, physical and metaphysical—from the perils encountered on a mountain road in Colombia to the death of a loved one to the birth of her own child—but the toughest to negotiate are the shifting place of memory and truth while coming to understand her place in her family and in the world. Vivid and heartfelt in the telling, Fajardo’s story is powerfully compelling in its bridging of time and place and in its moving depiction of self-transformation. Family, she comes to find, is where you find it and what you make of it.


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A young woman from Minnesota searches out the Colombian father she’s never known in this powerful exploration of what family really means He loved Colombia too much to leave it. The explanation from her Minnesotan mother was enough to satisfy a child’s curiosity about her missing father. But at twenty-one, Anika Fajardo wanted more. She wanted to know her father better and A young woman from Minnesota searches out the Colombian father she’s never known in this powerful exploration of what family really means He loved Colombia too much to leave it. The explanation from her Minnesotan mother was enough to satisfy a child’s curiosity about her missing father. But at twenty-one, Anika Fajardo wanted more. She wanted to know her father better and to know what kind of country could have such a hold on him. And so, in 1995, Fajardo boarded a plane and flew to Colombia to discover a birthplace that was foreign to her and a father who was a stranger. There she learns that sometimes, no matter how many pieces you find, fitting together a family history isn’t easy. With her tentative entry into her father’s world, Fajardo steps on a path that will take her in surprising directions, toward unsuspected secrets about her family and herself. Set against the changing backdrops of Colombia and the American Midwest, her journey carries her back to the 1970s and the beginnings of her parents’ broken marriage, and forward to the present day, where the magic and reality of love and heartache—and her own experience as a parent—await her. The way is strewn with obstacles, physical and metaphysical—from the perils encountered on a mountain road in Colombia to the death of a loved one to the birth of her own child—but the toughest to negotiate are the shifting place of memory and truth while coming to understand her place in her family and in the world. Vivid and heartfelt in the telling, Fajardo’s story is powerfully compelling in its bridging of time and place and in its moving depiction of self-transformation. Family, she comes to find, is where you find it and what you make of it.

30 review for Magical Realism for Non-Believers: A Memoir of Finding Family

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    In the “Magical Realism For Non-Believer’s: A Memoir of Finding Family” (2019) author Anika Fajardo would begin her journey in young adulthood to meet her father she never knew and understand her family dynamic. When she flew to Colombia in 1995, the region was one of the most lawless, corrupt, and violent places on the face of the earth—with high murder rates linked to gang activity and the drug trade. This wouldn’t stop fearless Anika, as an only child she was eagerly welcomed by her father Re In the “Magical Realism For Non-Believer’s: A Memoir of Finding Family” (2019) author Anika Fajardo would begin her journey in young adulthood to meet her father she never knew and understand her family dynamic. When she flew to Colombia in 1995, the region was one of the most lawless, corrupt, and violent places on the face of the earth—with high murder rates linked to gang activity and the drug trade. This wouldn’t stop fearless Anika, as an only child she was eagerly welcomed by her father Renzo and his second wife Ceci. The story is rich in details of South American culture, customs and language, travel and landscapes etc. It was refreshing that the story was centered from a compassionate point of view without critical judgment as Anika began to understand her own family history, the failure of her parent’s marriage, and her mother’s decision to raise her in Minnesota away from her Colombian birthplace, and sadly, without her father. Anika’s open mind would serve her well, and prepare her to eventually form and support her own solid and happy family as a wife, mother, sister and aunt. Anika Fajardo is an award winning author, her writing has been published in numerous independent publications. This is her first book. With thanks and appreciation to the University of Minnesota Press via NetGalley for the DDC for the purpose of review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I feel kind of bad giving a memoir such a low rating but I just didn't find this all that compelling. I'd agree with other reviewers who've said it jumped around a bit too much, too. Not for me unfortunately. Thank you Netgalley and University of Minnesota Press for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review. I feel kind of bad giving a memoir such a low rating but I just didn't find this all that compelling. I'd agree with other reviewers who've said it jumped around a bit too much, too. Not for me unfortunately. Thank you Netgalley and University of Minnesota Press for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anita Ojeda

    Magical realism, for those who wonder, is a literary genre perfected by Columbian novelist Gabriel García Márquez in his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. A book with magical realism has a fictional world that seems like the modern world in which we live, yet the story contains a magical or other-worldly element that seems impossible to believe. Anika Fajardo goes on a quest to find family and country in this nuanced and beautiful memoir. It starts with Farjardo’s journey to Columbia to visit Magical realism, for those who wonder, is a literary genre perfected by Columbian novelist Gabriel García Márquez in his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. A book with magical realism has a fictional world that seems like the modern world in which we live, yet the story contains a magical or other-worldly element that seems impossible to believe. Anika Fajardo goes on a quest to find family and country in this nuanced and beautiful memoir. It starts with Farjardo’s journey to Columbia to visit with the father she can’t remember. She “wanted Columbia to prove to me how beautiful, magical, wonderful she was, to show me why my father had chosen her over me.” Throughout the memoir, Farjado weaves together tales of the past, present, and future into a tapestry as colorful as the fabric worn by the Guambiano Indians. She introduces the readers to the magical land of Columbia, where her mother met her father shortly after Gabriel García Márquez published One Hundred Years of Solitude. Back when, “magical realism was part of the landscape, not a literary genre. When healers and lost daughters, secret affairs and illegitimate children were the rule, not the exception. Before literature stole away rainstorms of fireflies and sleeping sicknesses, these things existed in Columbia and were not flights of fancy.” After a whirlwind romance between her mother and father, they traveled together to Minneapolis and married. Farjado imagines the soundtracks to their lives (who wouldn’t, when the church wedding ceremony includes beads, flowered skirts, and rings made out of spoons—accompanied by a Bob Dylan song about a big brass bed), and the decisions they must have struggled with as a newlywed couple living with relatives and attending universities in opposite directions. Farjado can’t decide if their romance consists of the stuff of epic love stories or epic tragedies. All she knows is that at some point, her parents returned to Columbia, and discovered that the magic wasn’t enough to keep them together. She spends the rest of her childhood and teen years surrounded by her loving grandparents and wonderful mother, yet wondering about her father. Like a skillful artist, Farjado paints layers of luminous understanding into the complicated portrait of family and country. Her father (an artist of renown in Columbia), is not just a man who abandoned his daughter for the love of country. Columbia is not just a corrupt country torn by wars between drug dealers. But each layer she paints comes at a cost. It requires painting over previous assumptions and changing the tint and color to deepen the image and understanding. As Farjado paints each new revelation in her story, we come to realize the universality of her experience. We have all suffered from betrayal, misunderstanding, circumstances, and half-truths. And at some point, we must paint our own portrait of family and country that resonates with us.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lolly K Dandeneau

    via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/ 'Not quite foreign, not quite domestic.' There is something about the above line that beautifully expresses the assumptions made about mixed race children, particularly when it wasn’t as common in our author’s youth as it is today. Skin color, ethnic features tend to be used as a map for other people to ‘tell your story’, which more often than not is wrong. Then there are expectations we cling to ourselves, as Anika Fajardo wanted to embrace her via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/ 'Not quite foreign, not quite domestic.' There is something about the above line that beautifully expresses the assumptions made about mixed race children, particularly when it wasn’t as common in our author’s youth as it is today. Skin color, ethnic features tend to be used as a map for other people to ‘tell your story’, which more often than not is wrong. Then there are expectations we cling to ourselves, as Anika Fajardo wanted to embrace her Colombian side and finally get to know the father, Renzo, who had been absent from her life for over two decades. Anika wanted to love and relate to the things a Colombian should, like authors and spicy foods. Of course, we all fall under the spell of stereotypes for ourselves and others. A man of secrets, and yet welcoming her as if they saw each other everyday, he greets her at the airport. The point of her existence begins first with the love story between her mother Nancy and her Colombian father Renzo. Once his student, Nancy fell in passionate love with the charming artist, having come to Colombia for a semester of college abroad in 1970 at the age of Nineteen. Eventually, when marriage came and baby made three, the romance wore thin faced with the harsh realties of financial difficulties, isolation, lonely nights for Nancy while rumors of Renzo and other women were impossible to ignore. Her job teaching wasn’t much better, how does one end things when love is dead? Nancy made a life altering choice, one that solidified the future for their daughter Anika, who though born in Colombia would be raised in Minnesota, America. A new family takes shape, a family made of two, mother and daughter. Through the years there are step siblings that come and go, but nothing that sticks. It always goes back to just the two of them. That her whole family is split, divided between Colombia and Minnesota, a family she will not meet until she is 21 seems more fantasy through her childhood, her mother never quite denying her access to her father but not encouraging it either. Her father is letters, her father is a phantom. It wasn’t always for selfish reasons her mother chose to steal her away to America, there were health problems, dangers in Colombia that could be the difference between life or death. Naturally, Anika spends much of her time wondering how different a person she would have become had she and her mother remained. Culture molds us like nothing else! Much like immigrants, there is always a divide in people who are torn between two cultures, as she states “not quite foreign, not quite domestic.” Her visit to Colombia gives her missing pieces to the puzzle of her parents early relationship and her own father’s life after. There is love, but to him she was always that baby whom he last held, not the full-grown young woman who stands before him. She is like a ghost, looking so much like her mother’s twin. Too, she explores the things that drove her mother to make such a life altering decision for them all, simply by visiting the places her mother once lived. Colombia is as much a mysterious family member as her father, sticking out like a sore thumb when she first arrives, covered up where women dress far more provocatively (by American standards anyway) confidently comfortable as sexual beings, fully at home in their bodies, she can feel her artlessness like a sore tooth. Tasting the sweetness of ‘unfamiliar fruit’, vigilant of the possibility of intruders, aware of the threat of drug cartels while in the back of her mind, her hunger to meet her father far surpasses the fact that Colombia at the time of her visit was ‘one of the most dangerous countries on the earth.’ With the presence of his wife Ceci, who is kind enough, there are two strangers for her to get to know. Renzo and Anika do share a few memories, one story in particular she tells him that he too remembers, one she hadn’t even realized he was a part of. Memory is slippery but so much harder to fully recall are the earliest ones. Reunions aren’t always full of deep meaningful conversations, intimacy takes time, they share DNA but they are still strangers. Her father talks a lot, but ‘says nothing.’ Seeing his moods, and understanding her mother’s ways solidifies for Nancy why they fell apart, and how it never would have been a harmonious home. Even five years after her visit to Colombia, there remains more to her family story, big things that were kept from her that Renzo delivers in the form of his “enigmatic emails’. At first, it may be more than she wanted to know. Her father, that man whom could cause women to swoon with his ‘disarming charm’ is both ‘overly emotional and fiercely cut off’, the master of his own story and Anika’s because there are more chapters, untold surprises. There is death, danger, cultural shock, love, loss, secrets and a growing family. It is about desperately wanting to know your roots, to find the missing pieces of yourself and to finally meet a parent who is like a phantom limb. It is the odd coincidences of paraellel lives, the strange experience of coming to love strangers who are your blood, the peculiar curiosity of what ifs, the wonderment that another you could have easily come to fruition had life taken different turns. Publication Date: April 16, 2019 University of Minnesota Press

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alana

    I don’t like reviewing memoirs in the traditional sense because, well, how can you rate someone’s life story? But in this case, I will heartily say this memoir deserves 5 books. Fajardo grew up in Minnesota with her mother, never feeling like she fit in with the fair-skinned blonde kids. At 19, she travels to Columbia to meet her father to try to piece together their shared past. Her father is thrilled to see her and he and his wife try to make her feel welcome in this colorful and dangerous pla I don’t like reviewing memoirs in the traditional sense because, well, how can you rate someone’s life story? But in this case, I will heartily say this memoir deserves 5 books. Fajardo grew up in Minnesota with her mother, never feeling like she fit in with the fair-skinned blonde kids. At 19, she travels to Columbia to meet her father to try to piece together their shared past. Her father is thrilled to see her and he and his wife try to make her feel welcome in this colorful and dangerous place. He is an artist and photographer and it’s in his art where she begins to see his love for her and for his native Columbia. Slowly she begins to unravel the story of her parents and why her mother divorced her father. Many years later, after she has found her own love and begun her own family, Fajardo is surprised to learn another secret that adds another facet to her identity. There is another trip to Columbia, another chance to understand, another attempt to reach out, forgive, make amends. Her identity is constantly shifting and I believe the magic she refers to in the title is in the mysterious alchemy that makes family. What combination of blood, shared experience, and time unites people? Ultimately, Fajardo finds joy and peace in her messy, complicated family. // This book deals with those universal questions of identity and love and I found Fajardo’s writing to be moving and insightful. I’m not sure if the title accurately reflects the story though, but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment. It was a pleasure to read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    John

    My mother's parents divorced when she was three. My grandmother, who had custody, never remarried; my grandfather did so (he died when I was eight), had two more children, and relocated to central Maine. I never met him (unless as an infant), but his widow remembered our family without fail at birthdays and Christmas. I mention this as the author's later-in-life connection to her father, stepmother and (previously unknown) half-brother reminded me of meeting my grandfather's family as a college s My mother's parents divorced when she was three. My grandmother, who had custody, never remarried; my grandfather did so (he died when I was eight), had two more children, and relocated to central Maine. I never met him (unless as an infant), but his widow remembered our family without fail at birthdays and Christmas. I mention this as the author's later-in-life connection to her father, stepmother and (previously unknown) half-brother reminded me of meeting my grandfather's family as a college student, strangers-as-family, so truly appreciated that aspect. Overall, I'm pleased I checked out the book, but ... It needed to be shorter. I wasn't particularly interested in the last few chapters regarding her pregnancy, and subsequent trip to Colombia with her daughter. In hindsight, I could've stopped reading when she left California to return to Minnesota, not having missed much. One reviewer felt the story at times felt "flat" to her, and I agree - there was some "you had to be there" content that failed to draw me into the moment. The author writes well, not too choppy, nor too overflowing, with a solid sense of place. A tighter book might have scored an additional star from me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    At 21 years of age, Anika decides to visit Columbia to meet the father she doesn't really know. Leaving Minnesota where she grew up with her mother took courage. But she felt the need to know her roots. I enjoyed reading how the relationship grew between her and her father. It was a very touching tale and the author did a good job at describing her feelings and emotions. And yes, family is what you make it. * I was a provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher. It was my own decision to read At 21 years of age, Anika decides to visit Columbia to meet the father she doesn't really know. Leaving Minnesota where she grew up with her mother took courage. But she felt the need to know her roots. I enjoyed reading how the relationship grew between her and her father. It was a very touching tale and the author did a good job at describing her feelings and emotions. And yes, family is what you make it. * I was a provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher. It was my own decision to read and review this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

    Quick review: What a magical & lovely ride. I ended the book in tears. If I had been at home it woulda been sobs.

  9. 5 out of 5

    SundayAtDusk

    This had to be one of the most melancholic and melodramatic memoirs I have ever read. Author Anika Fajardo’s parents divorced when she was very young. After meeting and marrying in Colombia, her father’s homeland, her mother decided to end the marriage and return to Minnesota with their only child. Ms. Fajardo didn’t get to know her father until she was an adult. He did not tell her about a half-brother who lived in the United States until she was an adult. That’s all, folks. In this book, the a This had to be one of the most melancholic and melodramatic memoirs I have ever read. Author Anika Fajardo’s parents divorced when she was very young. After meeting and marrying in Colombia, her father’s homeland, her mother decided to end the marriage and return to Minnesota with their only child. Ms. Fajardo didn’t get to know her father until she was an adult. He did not tell her about a half-brother who lived in the United States until she was an adult. That’s all, folks. In this book, the author takes that all and finds countless molehills that she can turn into mountains of melancholy and melodrama. You would think she was trying to convince readers that there was something incredibly special about having divorced parents and an absent father. On top of that, Ms. Fajardo creates countless imaginary scenarios about what others were thinking, feeling or doing in past situations; and scenarios about what might have been if different choices were made by others. She explains towards the end of the memoir that she has always felt compelled to do that, and found imaging such scenarios “exciting”. Exciting? Maybe to her, but I doubt the average reader is going to be enthralled by her imaginings. Even most of what actually did happen in her family wasn’t particularly interesting, much less exciting. Maybe in the future Anika Fajardo should consider writing a novel, instead of a nonfiction book. That way she can create all the imaginary scenarios she wants, and then choose which ones she feels will most interest and excite her readers. (Note: I received a free e-ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher or author.)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Girl

    I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you! A beautifully written story of a young woman with an American mother and a Colombian father who grew up in the United States and who discovers her Colombian ancestry and family only when she is a young adult. She first consciously meets her father at over twenty, and only later does she learn about other unknown members on that side of her family. It was a compelling and fascinating read. Fajardo has a gift for gorgeous I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you! A beautifully written story of a young woman with an American mother and a Colombian father who grew up in the United States and who discovers her Colombian ancestry and family only when she is a young adult. She first consciously meets her father at over twenty, and only later does she learn about other unknown members on that side of her family. It was a compelling and fascinating read. Fajardo has a gift for gorgeous storytelling, and her language is truly lovely to read. It is a story about finding family, and trying to find oneself through finding one's roots.  Admittedly, I am not a 100% sold on the references to magical realism -- I am not sure its usage is entirely organic -- but hey, it drew me to reading this book, so I guess it works on a marketing level, at least.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Hightower

    Thank you NetGalley for the e-ARC of Magical Realism for Non-Believers by Anika Fajardo. This was a wonderful memoir about Anika Farjado's journey to try to understand why her parents split up when she was a young child and why her father chose to stay in Columbia. Taught in school that a family has a father and mother, Anika feels compelled to learn about the father that has been missing from her life. This story held my interest throughout. Anika went through family ups and downs and in the en Thank you NetGalley for the e-ARC of Magical Realism for Non-Believers by Anika Fajardo. This was a wonderful memoir about Anika Farjado's journey to try to understand why her parents split up when she was a young child and why her father chose to stay in Columbia. Taught in school that a family has a father and mother, Anika feels compelled to learn about the father that has been missing from her life. This story held my interest throughout. Anika went through family ups and downs and in the end she realized that family is what you make of it. She was thankful for hers. Recommend this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lissete

    I read an ARC for this book from Netgalley and the University of Minnesota Press, provided in exchange for an honest review. Sometimes you feel like a book is speaking to your soul, even if the experiences being described in it are such that you can't relate, even if what's going on is so foreign to you that it's sometimes hard for you to comprehend how people (and since this is a memoir, real people) could behave in a particular way. This book was one of those, for me. There was something about t I read an ARC for this book from Netgalley and the University of Minnesota Press, provided in exchange for an honest review. Sometimes you feel like a book is speaking to your soul, even if the experiences being described in it are such that you can't relate, even if what's going on is so foreign to you that it's sometimes hard for you to comprehend how people (and since this is a memoir, real people) could behave in a particular way. This book was one of those, for me. There was something about the writing that felt intimately personal, like I was Anika and she was me, or she was all of us, and I was just seeing an alternate universe, a possibility, through her eyes. Maybe it's because often the latinx experience is made out to be just one thing, and Anika is presenting a different set of possibilities. Or maybe it's just because she's a really, really good writer, very much aware of the beats a story needs to hit to attract people. Or maybe it was just fate. I'm not entirely sure, but I don't want to question it. If you're looking for a good, easy, emotional real, this is the book for you. If you want to support diverse writers, and diverse stories, this is the book for you. And if you want to feel like there's another story out there that isn't yours, but maybe, could have been, in another dimension, then this is most definitely the book for you.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jill Dobbe

    Anika Fajardo tells her story of being born in a small town in Colombia to a Colombian man and an American woman. In the telling of her story, Fajardo bounces back and forth from her earliest years, to the relationship between her parents, to the life she eventually led with her mother in Minnesota. She eventually visits Colombia again as an adult and develops a lasting relationship with her father. Along the way Fajardo also learns she has a brother, which adds another dimension to her idea of Anika Fajardo tells her story of being born in a small town in Colombia to a Colombian man and an American woman. In the telling of her story, Fajardo bounces back and forth from her earliest years, to the relationship between her parents, to the life she eventually led with her mother in Minnesota. She eventually visits Colombia again as an adult and develops a lasting relationship with her father. Along the way Fajardo also learns she has a brother, which adds another dimension to her idea of family. Magical Realism is a story about families and relationships that create bonds that continually grow and change. I give this book 3.5 stars. Thank you NetGalley and publishers.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Linda Wright

    I discovered this title during my search for a book to compare to my own memoir, which I'm currently pitching on the open market while trying to find an agent. Magical Realism for Non Believers is a memoir about finding family as is mine. But to me that's where the similarity ends. Anika was born in Columbia but raised in Minnesota by her single mother. Her mother returned home after a short lived marriage to a Columbian man she met while in college. Anika remembers little about the father left b I discovered this title during my search for a book to compare to my own memoir, which I'm currently pitching on the open market while trying to find an agent. Magical Realism for Non Believers is a memoir about finding family as is mine. But to me that's where the similarity ends. Anika was born in Columbia but raised in Minnesota by her single mother. Her mother returned home after a short lived marriage to a Columbian man she met while in college. Anika remembers little about the father left behind. They had no interaction until he invites her to Columbia when Anika is eighteen. When she arrives in her homeland everything she knows about herself changes. A place she's never really known is familiar to her. Her father, however, is the mystery and he holds even more surprises for Anika that knock her off her feet. Anika spends alot of time trying to wrap her head around who and what makes up a family unit as is to be expected. She had much thrown at her during the time she crossed the bridge between teenager and adult. I understand her confusion about who she really is and where she belongs, but I'm not a big fan of the way this book was written. Anika has a compelling story to tell, I just wasn't captivated by the way it was told. I didn't feel connected with any of the family members, they appeared flat and aloof. And I never understood the meaning of the title Magical Realism for Non Believers.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Alessandri

    This was a beautiful and moving memoir. For those of us who are American-born children of immigrants, especially Colombians, this memoir will resonate. It explores a search of self through a reconnection of roots, and echoes a truth of beauty and violence that I know from personal experience. The language is gorgeous and evocative, reminiscent of heightened attention to language found in magical realism. The story is familiar: an adult child in search of reconnecting with the father who abandone This was a beautiful and moving memoir. For those of us who are American-born children of immigrants, especially Colombians, this memoir will resonate. It explores a search of self through a reconnection of roots, and echoes a truth of beauty and violence that I know from personal experience. The language is gorgeous and evocative, reminiscent of heightened attention to language found in magical realism. The story is familiar: an adult child in search of reconnecting with the father who abandoned her, in the country of her birth but a country that is at once familiar and strange. "I had wanted Colombia to prove to me how beautiful, magical, wonderful she was, to show me why my father had chosen her over me." I also loved the exploration of memory and how malleable it can be. While some of the shifting between past and present was a bit jarring at times, it wasn't enough to impact my reading. It might be because I was reading on an eReader. Thank you to NetGalley for the eArc.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Regina Mastrogiacomo

    I Recommend This Book Strongly I found the book both fascinating and sad as the author explores all the new surprises in her life. I don't want to give away what the surprise is that makes the author doubt her life, but I'll just say if it happen to me, I would also be angry and feel like an outsider when I shouldn't . Loved all the people who Fajardo talks about in the book, but I wanted to know more about what happens next after she returns home, does she contact those she feels strongly about I Recommend This Book Strongly I found the book both fascinating and sad as the author explores all the new surprises in her life. I don't want to give away what the surprise is that makes the author doubt her life, but I'll just say if it happen to me, I would also be angry and feel like an outsider when I shouldn't . Loved all the people who Fajardo talks about in the book, but I wanted to know more about what happens next after she returns home, does she contact those she feels strongly about, do they see each other again? I just wonder. I'm was privilege to be able to read this story before its release date, so this isn't the final draft, but I found nothing that threw off the story line. Thank you University of Minneapolis Press for allowing to read this novel..

  17. 4 out of 5

    Janilyn Kocher

    Fajardo's memoir is an absorbing read. Born in Columbia, but reared in Minnesota, she knew nothing about her father who still resided in South America. Gradually, she began corresponding with him and visited him when she was twenty one. She flashes back to her parents' fractured marriage, a story I found equally fascinating. Only, she discovers she has more family that she wasn't aware she had. I enjoyed reading her story and about a different culture. The book cover is very eye catching. Thanks Fajardo's memoir is an absorbing read. Born in Columbia, but reared in Minnesota, she knew nothing about her father who still resided in South America. Gradually, she began corresponding with him and visited him when she was twenty one. She flashes back to her parents' fractured marriage, a story I found equally fascinating. Only, she discovers she has more family that she wasn't aware she had. I enjoyed reading her story and about a different culture. The book cover is very eye catching. Thanks to NetGalley for the advance read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Estee

    Darn. I keep forgetting that I am not the right person to read and review memoirs. I keep realizing that this is not the genre for me but gosh darn it if the title and cover didn’t pull me in! This is what it is. It’s a memoir of a daughter looking to re-connect with her father and to define what family means to her. I thought that it was good but I read it after “The Poet X” and that is a hard book to follow. It was an interesting enough story. I just felt that it was lacking emotion. Everythin Darn. I keep forgetting that I am not the right person to read and review memoirs. I keep realizing that this is not the genre for me but gosh darn it if the title and cover didn’t pull me in! This is what it is. It’s a memoir of a daughter looking to re-connect with her father and to define what family means to her. I thought that it was good but I read it after “The Poet X” and that is a hard book to follow. It was an interesting enough story. I just felt that it was lacking emotion. Everything was told a little too matter of factly for me. (I know, i know, it’s a memoir...) Thank you to NetGalley and the University of Minnesota press for an advanced copy of this book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    Beautifully written. I almost felt like I was reading poetry. Explores themes of home, family, and belonging.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Molly Grace

    3.5 stars

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    3.5 stars - Full review will be posted on my blog on 2nd April but can be moved upon request. Interesting read about a woman who meets her father 20 years after her mother moved them away from him. She explores what it was like to grow up in a single parent as half-Columbian and meeting her father and being introduced to Columbian culture and trying to improve her Spanish. She discovers years later that she has a brother who was born just a couple of weeks before she was. They navigate their famil 3.5 stars - Full review will be posted on my blog on 2nd April but can be moved upon request. Interesting read about a woman who meets her father 20 years after her mother moved them away from him. She explores what it was like to grow up in a single parent as half-Columbian and meeting her father and being introduced to Columbian culture and trying to improve her Spanish. She discovers years later that she has a brother who was born just a couple of weeks before she was. They navigate their family as adults and she has to re-learn the behaviours she developed thinking that she was an only child. Overall, an interesting read but it didn't stand out.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This was such an engaging read -- a voice I just wanted to hang out with. It's a personal memoir, buti it opens into so many other ideas -- about culture, place, family, mistakes, travel, moving forward, the past ... all in just beautiful real-life detail that is sometimes literally breathtaking. Highly recommend! This was such an engaging read -- a voice I just wanted to hang out with. It's a personal memoir, buti it opens into so many other ideas -- about culture, place, family, mistakes, travel, moving forward, the past ... all in just beautiful real-life detail that is sometimes literally breathtaking. Highly recommend!

  23. 4 out of 5

    B.

    How could you rate a memoir poorly? Unless it was badly written, which this clearly is not. It doesn't matter that it meanders, because it is memories. How could you rate a memoir poorly? Unless it was badly written, which this clearly is not. It doesn't matter that it meanders, because it is memories.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Bhagan

    Published by the University of Minnesota Press, Magic Realism for Non-Believers is a memoir from Anika Fajardo, a Latinx author who was born in Colombia but grew up in Minnesota. She is the product of an American mother and a Colombian father. The crux of her story is that she, having grown up in a single-parent home, never really knew Renzo, her father, or her Latinx heritage. The memoir details how the author gradually reaches out to her artist father through letters, eventually visiting him a Published by the University of Minnesota Press, Magic Realism for Non-Believers is a memoir from Anika Fajardo, a Latinx author who was born in Colombia but grew up in Minnesota. She is the product of an American mother and a Colombian father. The crux of her story is that she, having grown up in a single-parent home, never really knew Renzo, her father, or her Latinx heritage. The memoir details how the author gradually reaches out to her artist father through letters, eventually visiting him at age twenty-one in the homeland she never knew. This trip precipitates a recovery of memories she thought she knew and also leads to the revelation of more family secrets that shed light on the enigmatic character of Renzo. As a Caribbean-born reader and a big fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude and magic realism, I appreciated how well Fajardo uses the literary technique to tell her origin story and her reconnection with her Colombian heritage.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    In the very beginning of this book, we learn that the author (a college student at the time) traveled to Colombia to spend time with a father she hardly knew. Instead of that being the entire plot of the story, it is just the jumping-off point. In the rest of the book, Anika Fajardo tells the story of what happened after that visit, as well as the events leading up to it. She explains how she was born in Colombia but grew up in Minnesota, raised by her mom. After reconnecting with her father, sh In the very beginning of this book, we learn that the author (a college student at the time) traveled to Colombia to spend time with a father she hardly knew. Instead of that being the entire plot of the story, it is just the jumping-off point. In the rest of the book, Anika Fajardo tells the story of what happened after that visit, as well as the events leading up to it. She explains how she was born in Colombia but grew up in Minnesota, raised by her mom. After reconnecting with her father, she learns more about other family members, gets married, and has a daughter. When her daughter is about five, she takes another trip to Colombia, this time with her husband and child. This book was an enjoyable look at the author’s life and what it means to be a family. Are familial bonds strong because of the relationships you develop through the years, or is there something about being genetically related that automatically connects you to someone? I don’t know if the author answers that question, but she provides much food for thought. In addition to telling the stories of her family, the author also paints a vivid picture of Colombia, both through her visits and through her parents’ experience. Thanks to NetGalley and University of Minnesota Press for the ARC.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    I really enjoyed Anika’s memoir. She was honest, sincere and took us to a place that many of us have never been. By this I don’t mean visiting Colombia, although her descriptions were excellent . I mean having parents spit between two countries. I was captivated by her detailed descriptions of Colombia, having never been, I have a very colorful image of it now. Her honesty regarding her feelings for her Dad, his wife, her Colombian family and newly discovered brother were a breath of fresh air. I really enjoyed Anika’s memoir. She was honest, sincere and took us to a place that many of us have never been. By this I don’t mean visiting Colombia, although her descriptions were excellent . I mean having parents spit between two countries. I was captivated by her detailed descriptions of Colombia, having never been, I have a very colorful image of it now. Her honesty regarding her feelings for her Dad, his wife, her Colombian family and newly discovered brother were a breath of fresh air. I kept asking myself throughout the the book “what’s with the title, A Magical Reality for Non Believers?” But I totally get it now. Sometimes we just don’t have any say over our destiny, decisions are made for us when we are too young to make a choice. I give her a lot of credit for being so open minded, forgiving and loving. Highly recommend.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    Anika Fajardo was born in Colombia to a Colombian father and an American mother. Her parents divorced when she was too young to remember her father and her mother raised her in Minnesota. As a young adult, Anika decides to travel to Colombia to meet the father she's never really known. Her memoir is a thoughtful and honest account of what it feels like to grow up as the child of a single parent, to grow up mixed raced, and to grow up as an only child longing for a sibling...or is she an only chi Anika Fajardo was born in Colombia to a Colombian father and an American mother. Her parents divorced when she was too young to remember her father and her mother raised her in Minnesota. As a young adult, Anika decides to travel to Colombia to meet the father she's never really known. Her memoir is a thoughtful and honest account of what it feels like to grow up as the child of a single parent, to grow up mixed raced, and to grow up as an only child longing for a sibling...or is she an only child? I found the mixed-feelings she explores about her father and her Colombian heritage and a surprise family member an absorbing story and look forward to more by this author. Thank you NetGalley for providing the ARC edition of this ebook.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    In Magical Realism for Non Belivers, Fajardo takes the reader on her journey to reunite with her absent father in Colombia as she reckons with her connection/ disconnection from her culture and family lineage. Short chapters moving through time catalogue the memories that give context to her time in Colombia, allowing the reader to understand the ways in which Fakardo is building a deeper sense of identity. Her writing is descriptive and straightforward, leaving space for a strong emotional hone In Magical Realism for Non Belivers, Fajardo takes the reader on her journey to reunite with her absent father in Colombia as she reckons with her connection/ disconnection from her culture and family lineage. Short chapters moving through time catalogue the memories that give context to her time in Colombia, allowing the reader to understand the ways in which Fakardo is building a deeper sense of identity. Her writing is descriptive and straightforward, leaving space for a strong emotional honesty. As an educator, this is a book I will happily share with my students looking for a mirror of how our sense of self, our connections, and whom we call family change over time.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Karlyn

    I loved this memoir and STRONGLY recommend it. A great memoir for a mother/daughter book club--or any book club. My book club members loved it. The writing is beautiful. The story of a young woman traveling to Colombia, the place of her birth, the place where a family she doesn't remember waits to embrace her after years apart is truly magical. This memoir is about discovering family. It is a universal theme that everyone can relate to--the choices family members make that bring people together I loved this memoir and STRONGLY recommend it. A great memoir for a mother/daughter book club--or any book club. My book club members loved it. The writing is beautiful. The story of a young woman traveling to Colombia, the place of her birth, the place where a family she doesn't remember waits to embrace her after years apart is truly magical. This memoir is about discovering family. It is a universal theme that everyone can relate to--the choices family members make that bring people together and split people apart. My favorite chapter is the one with ghosts.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Faith 09

    A very beautiful memoir.

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