What goes through your head when the person you love leaves you? What do you do with your life when you have to start it all over again? Do you make it up? Nata’s world fills with unanswered questions when Beto leaves her. But time doesn’t stop, and the stories that Nata begins to tell herself about her own life lead her to a place where everything becomes possible again.
The birth of a book is a tough road. Writing it is only the beginning. So, what does that say about having the book translated into a language other than your native tongue? Would that be like sending the book to pre-school for the first time? I'm not saying there are problems with The Imaginary Life in this respect; I'm saying it takes literary guts.
I see Torres' book as a peek into a woman's mind after the breakup of a significant relationship. As such, some men may not have much interest in it. As an exercise in a woman's thought process (without any corresponding emotional investment), many men could find it valuable.
Most women can attest that they have many of the same thoughts as Nata does after a break-up. The doubts (what did I do wrong? should I start adopting stray cats now?), and the questions (will I ever trust again? will I ever have another relationship?) should be familiar to any woman reading The Imaginary Life.
Part of the problem is that 'Beto' does not give a clean break. He and Nata are 'stepping back' from the relationship for awhile, not 'broken up'. That can only add to Nata's confusion and inability to put the past behind her. I do think she took a longer than strictly needed time to realize her reunion fantasies were not going to come true. Part of me did want to pull a Cher from the movie Moonstruck, slap Nata in the face and say, "Snap out of it!"
From a psychological perspective, The Imaginary Life is interesting and instructional. It is a book where a lot of the 'action' is in the mind. So, if you are looking for a thrilling book with many twists and turns, this is not it. If you can learn from Nata's inability to change her circumstances, you just might learn how to solve an issue you face. While fiction, this book is more educational than entertaining.
Mara Torres is a reporter and author. She earned a degree in journalism from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM). Torres began her professional career in radio in the 1990s; a decade later, Hablar por hablar became a leading show on evening radio. In 2006 Torres moved to Spanish Television Information Services, where she is a host of news and entertainment shows. Among other awards, Torres has won the Golden Antenna and the Silver Microphone. She has published two nonfiction books. The Imaginary Life is her first novel and her first book in English.
(Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the author and publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for my unbiased review.) Click the above logo to see the rest of the review schedule and a giveaway!
Other reviews I am posting today:
(there's a total of four, so the list will grow as the day goes on)