Night of the Radishes: A Novel

( 3 )

Overview

Annie Rush has it all. A loving husband, adoring sons, an interesting job. But tragedy haunts her. Her identical twin sister died in a horrifying farm accident when the girls were nine years old, and in the wake of the grief and guilt that followed, her older brother left home for good. The death of her mother prompts Annie to seek her brother and revisit her long-lost past. Her search takes her to Oaxaca, where her brother was last seen, during the vibrant Christmas celebrations and the colorful Night of the ...

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Overview

Annie Rush has it all. A loving husband, adoring sons, an interesting job. But tragedy haunts her. Her identical twin sister died in a horrifying farm accident when the girls were nine years old, and in the wake of the grief and guilt that followed, her older brother left home for good. The death of her mother prompts Annie to seek her brother and revisit her long-lost past. Her search takes her to Oaxaca, where her brother was last seen, during the vibrant Christmas celebrations and the colorful Night of the Radishes festival; and ultimately, deep within herself.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
Despite the traumatic events that underlie the storyline, Night of the Radishes is written in a lighter vein than Benitez's earlier novels, which may be why, at times, her emotional lushness veers into sentimentality. But the appealing characters and settings, the lyrical language and steadily moving plot, give this novel satisfactions of its own. — Jane Ciabattari
Publishers Weekly
Set in Minnesota and Mexico, Ben tez's engrossing fourth novel recounts the journey of a responsible daughter who travels south to search for her long-lost brother. Thirty-four-year-old Annie Hart Rush is living a mundane life in Minneapolis until her mother's death leaves her $1 million and, far more interestingly, a journal written on her deathbed that forces Annie to rethink her past. She learns that her brother, Hub, who ran away from home at 17, had been sending postcards to her mother all the while that Annie thought he'd disappeared, and she flies to Oaxaca to track him down. After a rough beginning, the novel finds its stride, rewarding persistent readers with a suspenseful plot and well-developed characters. Ben tez does a great job of capturing landscapes, both north and south of the border, and she crafts a convincing voice for the mother's journal, which appears in excerpts throughout the book. Fans of the author's previous novels (A Place Where the Sea Remembers; Bitter Grounds, etc.) will appreciate her detailed descriptions of Annie's emotional growth-much of which happens during the intimate conversations she has with a Berkeley professor who's staying at her hotel (while Annie's husband is at home taking care of the kids). Thanks to Ben tez's superb, lyrical writing, this evocative novel manages suspense without sacrificing beautiful prose. (Jan.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Annie Rush is a happily married mother of two whose past is riddled with tragedy and loss that come to the fore when she must attend to her dying mother. To cope, Annie disconnects her heart from her head, but that does not free her from her duty. Before she dies, Annie's mother begs Annie to find her brother, who left home 20 years before; the only clues to his whereabouts are a series of postcards. Annie eventually narrows her search to Oaxaca, Mexico, where she meets Joe Cruz, an anthropology professor and guardian angel in disguise. With his help, she locates her brother and reunites her heart and mind. Benitez (A Place Where the Sea Remembers) creates a moving story about loss, guilt, anger, and forgiveness, set against the colorful mingling of the North American and Latin American cultures (Benitez was reared in both). Speaking to the human need to tell one's story, Benitez's fourth novel is recommended.-Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Providence Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A young woman searches for her long-lost brother in Oaxaca, Mexico, during the Christmas festivities-in a small family saga from four-time novelist Ben'tez (The Weight of All Things, 2001, etc.). At 33, Annie Hart Rush has just begun to settle into the confines of her life. Happily married and the mother of two boys, Annie has managed to build a good life for herself after a childhood heavily clouded over with grief. The first blow was the loss of Maggie, her twin sister, more than 20 years ago. Maggie's death (in a tractor accident) set off a chain reaction of tragedy in the Hart family: Maggie's father Elmer (who had been driving the tractor) killed himself in a fit of grief not long after the accident, and her older brother Hub, equally depressed, ran away from home at age 17 and was never heard from again. Or so Annie thought, until her mother Flo confesses on her deathbed that she had received postcards from Hub over the years since he left, all from different places and none with a return address. In the last throes of emphysema, Flo begs Annie to try to find Hub and reunite the family-a task made even more urgent by Flo's will, which leaves the house to Hub. Annie sets off as a kind of private sleuth, partly out of fascination and partly to take her mind off her mother's death. She's able to track Hub as far as Oaxaca before the trail runs cold. There, she's helped in her quest by Joe Cruz, a Berkeley anthropology professor whom she meets at her hotel. Joe has his own family demons (his wife and son died in a fire three years earlier), and Maggie sees him as a sort of kindred soul. Eventually, during the Night of the Radishes (December 23), everything in Maggie's past and presentbegins to converge, and she must decide who she is and-more importantly-who she wants to be. As soap operas go, this is pretty good: a nice mix of family drama, exotic settings, mystery, and psychology.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401307820
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 1/12/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,003,242
  • Product dimensions: 0.65 (w) x 5.25 (h) x 8.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Sandra Benítez is the author of A Place Where the Sea Remembers, which won the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and the Minnesota Book Award, and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award. She is also the author of Bitter Grounds, which won the Before Columbus Foundation's American Book Award, and The Weight of All Things, which was a Book Sense 76 selection. Benítez is a past Keller-Edelstein Distinguished Writer in Residence at the University of Minnesota, and recently won a Bush Foundation Fellowship in Fiction. She lives in Minnesota.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 10, 2013

    I've been to Oaxaca Mexico so was interested in reading this nov

    I've been to Oaxaca Mexico so was interested in reading this novel, found it kind of slow in getting to the main plot of the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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