She is well known for creating inspirational female characters and fictional pieces that reflect the social and political realities of Mexico in her life. Mastretta began writing as a journalist for a Mexican magazine, Siete and an afternoon newspaper, Ovaciones. She claims that her father — a journalist in his youth — inspired her to be a writer. Her father died when the writer was still very young, but this did not prevent her from following in his footsteps.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Get A Copy. Published June 30th by Planeta Deagostini first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews.

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Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Sep 21, Vbuendia rated it liked it. To all of you out there who believe that Mastretta does not introduce her characters enough, or that the first half of the novel is quite hard, there is a simple explanation for this.

The novel is quite regionalized, it's written by a Mexican woman whose mother grew up in that environment. There is no particular art to her writing style and the story is a dime a dozen, in Mexico at least. But her colloquial style made her accessible to a wide array of readers, which made her and her novel famous. Those books speak to a much more universal audience while still reflecting the particularities of being a Latin-American woman in the 20th century.

But if you insist in reading Mastretta, understand this, the novel was not written for an international audience. View all 6 comments. This is a story immerse in the Mexico of the s and 40s. It has very interesting political undertones as Catalina the protagonist marries Andres Ascencio, who is something of a politician but whose main role is that of the man behind the curtain pulling at the puppets' strings.

Catalina marries young, too young she tells us as the novel goes on. She thinks she's in love, but only because she doesn't know what love is, at least not yet. Andres isn't in love with his new bride either, but she' This is a story immerse in the Mexico of the s and 40s.

Andres isn't in love with his new bride either, but she's young, beautiful and from a good family, which is all a budding figure in the political arena may want -or need- in a wife. Catalina is the one narrating the story, and as the novel goes, we see the world changing both because things always change but also because she's growing, losing her innocence, learning the that life is never what our parents tell us it will be.

Soon, she's no longer a teen but a woman with her own opinions and desires. And her husband is now an important figure, and rich too. And there is this man, the director of the National Symphonic Orchestra, who understands who she is and who wants to hear what she has to say. And she falls in love with him the night the orchestra plays the songs her father used to whistle when working at home.

But the musician is also a lefty, and while Andres cares little about his wife's emotions, he wouldn't let an artist start a revolution. Catalina is the perfect witness, because she's insightful, and loving, and merciless in equal parts. She's a great character, as there are many others in this novel. Her own children, the children Andres had with other women and that Catalina has to raise.

Catalina, as it turns out to be, is literally Andres shadow, seeing what he does and learning from his ways, preparing for what's coming. As historical novels go, this one is really good.

View 2 comments. Dec 29, Laura rated it it was ok. I gave up on this book about halfway through. Maybe I just don't have the time or the concentration to read it right now.

Or maybe it just developed quite differently from how I had expected the plot to unfold. The story centers around Catalina who is barely 15 when she marries a general at least 15 years her senior whom anyone with half a braincell can tell is going to turn out to be a power-obsessed narcissistic jerk. In case you have any hopes for this guy, he establishes himself pretty quick I gave up on this book about halfway through.

In case you have any hopes for this guy, he establishes himself pretty quickly as that guy that you would never let a friend or a daughter of yours marry. Catalina does marry him, though, and she finds herself quickly immersed into a world of shady politics as the general ascends to the position of the governor of Puebla, Mexico.

Maybe I'm lacking some political and historical context, maybe reading in Spanish is too hard for me after a day or work I just wanted to see her develop in a way that was introspective and integrated. I wanted to see her triumph over this guy and become a better person.

Instead, she just manipulates her own position in the situation and crafts her own unique brand of politic intrigue. I think she has an affair later in the book, and, frankly, it couldn't come soon enough. Maybe she turns into a wise woman at the end, but I skipped to the end to see what would happen, and it's a big, dramatic, weepy death scene at the side of the deceased general.

Catalina is very sentimental and actually misses him. In my opinion, I would have preferred to see the general shot after the first pages so that we could see Catalina blossom post-psycho husband.

Maybe I'll pick this up later and try to finish it. Maybe not Jul 19, Veronica rated it it was amazing. One of the best Latin American works I have come across. Page by page it reminded me of how much I love Mexican history. The life of Catalina makes so much sense to me and reminds me of the old stories my own grandmother, who would be a contemporary of Catalina, would talk about.

I could clearly visualize the story and place Catalina as the female lead role in one of Pedro Infante's movies. Marrying a much more older man at the age of 15 was common practice at the time, but the way she evolved i One of the best Latin American works I have come across. Marrying a much more older man at the age of 15 was common practice at the time, but the way she evolved into a modern, rich, Mexican woman with all the complexities of the love-hate relationship she had with Andres Asencio is just fascinating.

No matter how anyone might interpret her relationship with el general, I envied their complicity. The type that exists only in long lasting marriages. This is not a romantic novel, neither is it for those who seek romanticism. The description of their life together is visceral. You will not meet here the heroine that grows up to stand up to the shenanigans of a classic Mexican cacique.

On the contrary, you will see her creating her persona around it and at times shielding herself and her children by living in the most pure form of denial. Great era novel. Though it was in my to read priorities for year, I can now see why this novel was what it was when it was first published. A must read for anyone with a passion, melancholy and understanding of old fashioned values View 1 comment.

Jun 09, Jim rated it liked it Shelves: fiction , fiction-latin-american. It is hard to relate to the protagonist; although you sympathize with her and root for her when she stands up to her husband, you also realize the pressures to conform and accept her station in life as showpiece, hostess, lover, and assistant to the larger-than-life husband.

It is disheartening when you see the powerlessness of the poor, who often pay with their lives for their activism or protest, if not arbitrarilly for instance if they have a beautiful daughter or a piece of property coveted by a wealthy man. Anyone interested in Mexico during this period would find it an interesting read; just try not too get too caught up in the historical references and just enjoy the interplay.

View all 3 comments. I've never understood why people consider this to be a "feminist" work. The story begins at the beginning of the protagonist's relationship with the man who would later be her husband and a well-known politician. It follows her through years of self-sacrifice, and although her story doesn't end with their relationship I'm trying not to spoil , the novel does.

I found the end to be the most intriguing part--at the end of their relationship, she can begin to live for herself. That's when I really I've never understood why people consider this to be a "feminist" work.

That's when I really became interested, and wanted to read more.


Arrancame la vida



Ángeles Mastretta



Arráncame la vida




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