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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
If the fluorescent lighting in the drugstore chains makes your head hurt and your eyes glaze over, rest assured that a cure is at hand. Just open Espinoza's beguiling novel, and enter the Botánica Oshun, a unique shop in a run-down Southern California strip mall, with remedies for a host of ailments.
The botánica is run by Perla Portillo, an older woman whose healing power was recognized years earlier by the shop's former proprietor. Eluding classification, the botánica carries a hodgepodge of religious, curative, and spiritual items, from rosaries to crucifixes, from statues of saints to oils, candles, and herbal remedies. But Perla's customers are what give it life -- their lives as varied as her wares. Can she help an overweight teenager who's be falling in love with the wrong boy? That seems manageable. Can she save a young, illegal Mexican immigrant who's fallen into dangerous hands? That will be much harder.
Still Water Saints offers up a slice of life we rarely get to see, a world where hope can trump despair and faith can trump science. Do Perla's cures work? The answer is elusive but a joy to discover, in this evocative and poignant debut. (Spring 2007 Selection)