Perpetual West

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Young married couple Elana and Alex have multifaceted intentions behind their move to El Paso. Both plan to continue their college studies, with Alex focusing his research on lucha libre, a kind of theatrical Mexican wrestling. Alex also hopes the proximity to Juarez will provide opportunities to learn more about his Mexican birth mother. Neither Elana nor Alex openly acknowledges the fault lines in their marriage, or the complicated motivations that drive their decisions once their El Paso life begins. When Elana returns home to deal with a family crisis, Alex pursues a closer relationship with Mateo, a well-known wrestler with demons of his own, a choice that draws him deep into Juarez’s underbelly. When Alex disappears, Elana finds herself alone, knowing in her heart that something terrible has happened but being told at every turn that Alex has simply left her. The truth lurks in territory neither one of them is prepared to confront.

The border of El Paso and Juarez is both the physical setting of this novel and its thematic center. At times, Alex and Elana’s position as Americans in Mexico seems to be all-defining, yet their commitment to their own journeys allows them more intimate access. Mesha Maren succeeds in offering readers an insider’s view of impenetrable communities, and Elana’s search for Alex will leave readers breathless.

Reviewed By:

Author Mesha Maren
Star Count /5
Format Hard
Page Count 384 pages
Publisher Algonquin Books
Publish Date 25-Jan-2022
ISBN 9781643750941 Buy this Book
Issue January 2022
Category Modern Literature