When several notebooks were recently discovered among Frida Kahlo's belongings at her home in Coyoacan, Mexico City, acclaimed Mexican novelist F. Read more...
- [-] Other Available FormatsOur PriceNew & Used MarketplaceEl Libro Secreto de Frida Kahlo (Paperback - Spanish)
Publisher: Atria Books$16.00
When several notebooks were recently discovered among Frida Kahlo's belongings at her home in Coyoacan, Mexico City, acclaimed Mexican novelist F. G. Haghenbeck was inspired to write this beautifully wrought fictional account of her life. Haghenbeck imagines that, after Frida nearly died when a streetcar's iron handrail pierced her abdomen during a traffic accident, she received one of the notebooks as a gift from her lover Tina Modotti. Frida called the notebook "The Hierba Santa Book" (The Sacred Herbs Book) and filled it with memories, ideas, and recipes.
Haghenbeck takes readers on a magical ride through Frida's passionate life: her long and tumultuous relationship with Diego Rivera, the development of her art, her complex personality, her hunger for experience, and her ardent feminism. This stunning narrative also details her remarkable relationships with Georgia O'Keeffe, Leon Trotsky, Nelson Rockefeller, Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Henry Miller, and Salvador Dali. Combining rich, luscious prose with recipes from "The Hierba Santa Book," Haghenbeck tells the extraordinary story of a woman whose life was as stunning a creation as her art.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-09-24
- Reviewer: Staff
Real-life textual artifacts recently discovered at Frida Kahlo's former home in Mexico City serve as the inspiration for Mexican author Haghenbeck's (Bitter Drink) fictionalized rendering of the late artist's life, though this surprisingly light read adds little to Kahlo's already remarkable biography. The author uses an invented notebook filled with tales and recipes for the Day of the Dead to enliven the critical events in Kahlo's life; magical-realist vignettes hang loosely together around the premise of a mystical bargain with Death and a magical godmother who crops up throughout the book. Tracing through Kahlo's extraordinarily wide-ranging experiences, relationships (with Diego Rivera, Ernest Hemingway, Georgia O'Keefe, and others), and lovely descriptions of food makes for compelling reading, and Haghenbeck does a fair job of capturing the spirit of his heroine, even if his insights lack profundity. The book includes a discussion guide for reading groups, and despite the very real darkness of the material, Haghenbeck's efforts seem, bizarrely, better suited to a picnic at the beach than a serious reimagining of a deeply introspective and innovative artist. (Sept.)