Most helpful critical review
A horridly disappointing book!
on November 4, 2003
What a disappointment this book is! What an annoying waste of money! I can only conclude that friends of the author have rallied to plug in the praise found in most other reviews on this site.
I love New Mexico; love Taos. I own a home there. (have elderly relatives there.) I could appreciate lyrical descriptions of the setting in the event of weak characters and a story-line that bores tediously without being interesting. Mari Ulmer does not even give those! Ulmer's efforts at garnering review raves about her descriptive skills FAR out weigh those skills. She strings together a few mundane observations, using an array of trite phrases and wants the reader to believe that's the way it is? --- disappointing!
Mari Ulmer's protagonist is a one-dimensional, vapid creature lacking in deep thought, logic, or the demeanor of a lawyer. ("retired" is no excuse for foolish.) MOF-- all characterizations are so lacking that it appears Ulmer has never studied one page of character development. The protagonist, Christy Garcia y Grant wanders thorugh her days noting incidentals about her own home and her life as if facing a virtual reality "Oh! This Is My Life?" camera while she sadly notes how the calloused Anglos kept her from learning Spanish as a child. --Hmmm. My 4-year-old granddaughter speaks three languages fluently! Yet, this character is --oddly-- able to recall small details from childhood about her grandmother, her family history, and peculiar religious customs.
The plot waddles through various levels of religious mysticism while brushing government secrets, Los Alamos, AIDS, and illogical violence. It lacks cohesive order or satisfying reconciliation. How misleading most of the reviews are! To compare Mari Ulmer to Tony Hillerman is a travesty! All I can surmise is that the author has friends in the right places to even get published. (I'd like a refund.)