Manzanillo Sun

“A Place Where the Sea Remembers”

2010 August 2010 Book Review Diana Stevens

By Diana Stevens from the August 2010 Edition

Author: Sandra Benitez

Santiago near a fictional Manzanillo in the 1980’s these stories could be true here today. We read of a tight-knit village community over several years, meeting a panorama of living characters Sandra Benitez who is of Puerto Rican and Midwestern descent, grew up in Mexico, El Salvador and Missouri.

She loves and feels with warm-hearted people everywhere and enjoys their impetuosity and lack of logic. She understands poverty – where people and relationships are more important than possessions and the few possessions are simple found objects – shells, feathers, stones, clay, wood or herbs.

The stories are loosely held together by the character of Remedios, the elderly healer, to whom many have poured out their hearts. Grounded in the four elements she is “the one who knows”. We meet a flower seller and her salad-maker husband, her sister, the hotel chambermaid, whose dream is to go North, a birdman, a photographer, the teacher and the midwife. Simple people at high emotional points in their lives. Benitez writes of birth and death, marriage and family feuds, joy and tragedy. She writes not with logic but with love.

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