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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Elena Knows

"Elena knows. She waits. With her bowed head and her shuffling feet, without seeing the road or what it will bring. She doesn’t go astray, even if she sometimes wanders."
Claudia Piñeiro is an Argentinian crime writer. Her novel “Elena Knows” appealed to me because it is set in Buenos Aires where I spent some time a decade ago. The protagonist, Elena, has Parkinson's disease. Her 40 year old daughter, Rita, is found hanging in the church she attends and the investigation declares the death a suicide. Elena, whose relationship with her daughter was rocky, refuses to accept that Rita has killed herself and sets out to disprove the conclusion. She travels across the city to talk to a woman she and her daughter met a decade ago under fraught circumstances.  Isabel has corresponded with Rita each year, sending her family photos and Elena believes that she might be able to shed some light on her daughter's death. Elena is severely disabled but plots out her medication schedule and sets off across the city. It is an arduous journey due to the limitations her illness places upon her body. The nature of Rita's relationship with Isabel is gradually revealed. The book explores what it means to be a mother, the pressures society places on women and the struggles of living with a degenerative brain disease. It's a short novel but a tough read. It was not the whodunit I expected but was thought-provoking and I'm glad I read it. 

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