Halloween has always held a special place in my heart, due in large part to my family’s enthusiastic celebration of the holiday. When we were growing up, my mom would take me and my brother around New Jersey, visiting all sorts of pumpkin patches and haunted houses, listening to spooky stories on tape, like “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”
However, there’s another holiday at the same time that has always held my fascination. Full of its own traditions and stories, I first learned of Día de los Muertos in school. A Mexican tradition celebrating one’s deceased family members, the Day of the Dead has been practiced as a holiday for more than 3,000 years. Special foods and altars are prepared to commemorate lost loved ones, and the day is often accompanied by colorful festivals and parades. Having seen this holiday depicted on TV and in movies, I set out to find examples of its celebration in literature, and although this collection of books may not include the holiday specifically, they are full of the rich history and customs of Mexico and its people.
Food and rampant emotion are melded together in this magical realist romance in which each of the twelve sections begin with a Mexican recipe, all of which are cleverly incorporated into the plot of the book itself.