audiobook (Unabridged) ∣ And Other Stories
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Set against the tropics and megacities of the Americas, Maria, Maria takes inspiration from wild creatures, tarot, and the porous borders between life and death. Motivated by love and its inverse, grief, the characters who inhabit these stories negotiate boldly with nature to cast their desired ends. As the college professor in "Brujeria for Beginners" reminds us: "There's always a price for conjuring in darkness. You won't always know what it is until payment is due." This commitment drives the disturbingly faithful widow in "Tijuca," who promises to bury her husband's head in the rich dirt of the jungle, and the sisters in "Moksha," who are tempted by an obsidian dagger once held by a vampiric idol. But magic isn't limited to the women who wield it. Animals are powerful magicians too. Subversive pigeons and hungry jaguars are called upon in "Tunnels," and a little girl runs with a resurrected saber-toothed tiger in "Burial." A colorful catalog of gallery exhibits from animals in therapy is featured in "Art Show," including the Almost Philandering Fox and the Paranoid Peacocks. Brimming with sharp wit and ferocious female intuition, these stories bubble over into the titular novella, "Maria, Maria"-a family drama set in a reimagined California rainforest that explores the legacies of three Marias, and possibly all Marias.