Gringa in a Strange Land

Gringa in a Strange Land

by Linda Dahl
     
 

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Baby Boomer Fiction at its best.
A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Woman
February 2011: "Gringa in a Strange Land" receives the Writers in the Sky Award for the Best Creative Writing of the Year in 2010!
Gringa in a Strange Land evokes the "counter-cultural" early l970's, that exhilarating and confusing time for so many young people. Erica Mason, an…  See more details below

Overview

Baby Boomer Fiction at its best.
A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Woman
February 2011: "Gringa in a Strange Land" receives the Writers in the Sky Award for the Best Creative Writing of the Year in 2010!
Gringa in a Strange Land evokes the "counter-cultural" early l970's, that exhilarating and confusing time for so many young people. Erica Mason, an American living in Mexico, is torn between working to become the artist she longs to be, and the lure of the drug culture. Set mostly in the colonial city of Merida in the Yucatan peninsula, the narrative also moves among Mayan ruins, laid-back beaches, and cities such as Belize and Oaxaca. A host of bohemian expats and Mexicans along with the complex character of Mexico itself, infuse this portrait of the artist as a young woman in exile, culminating in an unexpected resolution.
Dahl’s use of character and atmosphere are commendable for how they appear so simple yet enrich and perfectly blend together to create an intoxicating world. Dahl has recaptured a time and place she knew as a young woman from her own travel to Mexico in the 1970s. One might call this book “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman.” Dahl uses multiple languages and explores the character in a Bildungsroman manner.

"Like the artisans who applied kaleidoscopic colors to the Mayan pyramids, Linda Dahl paints a vivid portrait of a young American artist who thrusts herself into the exotic maelstrom of Mexico in the '70's on a drug-, booze- and sex-suffused odyssey — a struggle to create art, find herself and seek love — amid the hippies and the druggies, the ordinary folk, the grifters and the adventurers all crossing paths in Merida and Oaxaca. You'll think of Robert Stone's work and Barbet Schroeder's film More in that the novel so adeptly renders an era, a country and a state of mind."
—Randolph Hogan, former editor of the "New York Times Book Review" and translator of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor

“This beautifully written novel tells the story of approximately one year in the life of Erica Mason, a 23-year-old American girl who has been living in Mexico for two years. Set in the l970's, while America and the world were still suffering from the effects of the Vietnam war, and a time when the world was changing (women's lib movement, gay rights and legal abortion), this book powerfully captures the spirit of the time, as well as showing the reader Erica's own personal experiences.”
— R. Hayes, Amazon.co.uk

"One might well call this book 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman.' It is less pretentious than James Joyce’s classic novel, yet uses multiple languages and explores the character in a Bildungsroman manner. And Erica is more human, far easier to empathize with, and easily more likeable than Joyce’s Stephen Dedalus.
"Ultimately, Linda Dahl has captured a time and place, making them come alive again with an effective atmosphere, believable yet eccentric characters, and an internal confusion that becomes an awakening for the main character. Just as a good painting can make a person feel he has stood in a foreign place, Linda Dahl allows the reader to escape through her seemingly effortless and graceful style. In this case, I find it hard to imagine a painting would be worth as many words as Gringa in a Strange Land when finishing the novel is like awakening from a dream of Mexico that felt so vividly real."
—Tyler R. Tichelaar for Reader Views

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Editorial Reviews

Pamela Barrett
Dark Exotic Adventure
This novel grabbed me & drug me back in time to Mexico in the 1970's a time I knew well-the scruffy side of an exotic adventure. Come hang out with 23 year old artist Erica Mason as she tries to "paint sense" out of ancient cultures, empty affairs & a cast of characters that would make Fellini proud. There is her ever present addiction to Quaaludes & booze coloring her relationships & memories with long dark shadows even as fames bright light focuses on her canvases.
Mitchell Shannon
Your moody feminist existentialist stoner hero
Dahl’s fine new novel provides an unblinking look at a recent university graduate out to see the world in the early 1970s, and a reader is likely to be swept up in the book’s profound depth of feeling.
Dahl skillfully avoids predictive outcomes, which is part of what makes this a worthy and commendable novel.
Rayna Deatren
The moment I looked at the cover of Gringa in a Strange Land I wanted to travel to this location. I want to walk by this building, I want to meet the people who live inside and experience all the people and places that I imagine surround this humble abode with it's weathered paint and bared window.
Linda Dahl does a wonderful job of taking you there, to a little town in Mexico, Merida. Where time lingers allowing for art, love and a lazy day-to-day living. She also crafts the perfect charact
E Cronin
Gring in a Strange Land a compelling tale of coming of age:
I found all of the characters compelling and interesting. The story is so emblematic of so many young people in the '60's and '70's who leave the US seeking something—fame, glory, art, isolation, escape. Despite Erica's myriad of personal shortcomings, I found myself rooting for her, fearing for her, and wanting to know more.
Audrey Lee
Coming of Age in Mexico: A Young Artist's story
Her heroine Erica Mason has come to Mexico to travel and to try her wings as an artist.
Once in Mexico, the easy availability of cheap drugs begins to push Erica's desire to paint to one side. Trying to manage her buzz becomes an almost full-time occupation along with obsessing over the self-centered sexually attractive men who frustratingly float into and out of her life.
...an exquisitely written novel that would appeal to readers

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940013073548
Publisher:
Reed, Robert D. Publishers
Publication date:
08/30/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
File size:
863 KB

Meet the Author

Linda Dahl has written extensively about Latin America, jazz, New Orleans and other topics that interest her over a thirty year career as a published author. She has lived in Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico and New York and currently lives in an old farmhouse with lots of flowers and pets. A widow, she has a daughter and a stepson.

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