Canicula is a book that is hard to define. It is that unique. It feels like sitting in the living room with a grandma or an elderly aunt going through pictures of people you don’t know; of relatives and friends who passed away before you were born. In Canicula, Norma Cantu uses pictures to share snips and bits of a girl’s story growing up in the Southern border where Mexico meets Texas. Her family has lived in both sides of the border for generations. It is in English but it is peppered with Spanish words that reading it I wonder if a non-Spanish speaker, devoid of any background on Mexican culture would be able to understand it.
Like pictures pulled from a dusty shoe-box, the story does not follow chronologically nor has a center. It just exists as a collection of memories. I found the style very interesting. Mesmerizing. Creative and unique. I also found the traditions and culture depicted, nostalgic. It reminded me of my paternal grandmother and the conversations she would have, sitting in her porch, sipping a regular coke.
It is an interesting read. It is worth reading, if anything, for its unique style. However, if you like plot-driven stories or character development, stay away. This might no be for you.