Tatiana “Pluta” Spektor was a mostly happy, if awkward, young girl — until her sociologist father disappeared during Argentina’s Dirty War.
Sent a world away by her grieving mother to attend boarding school outside New York City, Pluta wrestles alone with the unresolved tragedy and at last runs away:
to the streets of Brooklyn in 1980, where she figuratively- and literally -spreads her wings.
Told with haunting fabulist imagery by debut novelist Anca L. Szilagyi, this searing tale of love, loss, estrangement, and coming of age is an unflinching exploration of the personal devastation wrought by political repression.
Genre: Magical Realism
Title: Daughters of the Air
Author: Anca L. Szilagyi
Publisher: Lanternfish Press
It took a long time for me to finish this book. The first page immediately tells you that it’s full of beautiful, fantasy-like writing. It’s supposed to suck you in and look at Brooklyn in the 1980s and think beautiful, wonderful things about the streets and the adventures of a runaway girl hurting badly. I think it was also supposed to make it easier to take in all the horrible, horrible things done to a young girl who’s too naive to get off the fucking streets and at least take care of her body.
This really frustrated me. So many people praised this book and I just felt like I wasn’t getting what everyone else so easily got. Was the writing beautiful? Oh, most definitely. And it’s a cool idea to tell such a depressing story in a fantastical way, almost like the way young Pluta would have imagined the little world she lived in to be. But personally, I wasn’t getting anything out of this. It was just… well, not for me, I guess. Even when things were shockingly done, I still found myself wondering what the point was with any of it, except to maybe show how horrible life can be and how it’s only as beautiful as you see it. The only thing I liked was the growth on her back. Everything else was maybe just a little too deep with a world that wasn’t as captivating to a reader like me. You can check it out if you want, because the writing is, again, totally beautiful, and who knows. Maybe you’ll end up getting what I couldn’t.