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Tuesday, July 18, 2023

The Last CuentistaThe Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So. I had a lot of thoughts about this one.

The good/great: I loved having the Mexican folklore and having it set out in New Mexico, soon to be hopping aboard one of the three spacecraft made to whisk the remaining humanity off the planet before a grand disaster. The personal focus of storytelling over what everyone else is doing is great, too. I was totally on board. Even when she wakes up after the deep sleep only to learn that she's the only one who remembers Earth, I'm vibing with it.

So what happened? Maybe being MG happened. Too much 100% black and white. Collective is utterly evil. This, despite the hope in the very beginning, the laughter I had when the ship with the politicos blew up, I didn't quite believe that we could have gone so borg-ish and one-note. And our MC? Well, once she threw a monkey wrench into the huge-bad, I'm struck by a sense of utter desolation.

Where is the storyteller happy ending? Stories need to be told, they need to affect a lot of people. In this dystopia, she's the last and she barely gets through to anyone. Indeed, by the end, I'm hit with the realization that her happy ending is just survival, almost alone. Isolation.

You know, like so many writers are, today. It's bleak. And that's the happy ending.

Mind you, the book does what it sets out to do and I love the various aspects I mentioned, but it's really hard to walk away from that message with anything like hope. "Hope? Why are you looking for hope in a Dystopia?" Yeah, yeah, I know. But even F-451 railed against the dying of the light in a way that was a bit more on point.

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