Dying Unfinished by Maria Espinosa


dying unfinished

Synopsis taken from information given to: www.bookclubforum.co.uk

Using her own love-rage relationship with her mom as a catalyst, American Book Award winner Maria Espinosa weaves fact and fiction in her latest highly acclaimed novel Dying Unfinished. A novelist, poet, translator, and teacher, who has been reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, New York Review of Books, and The San Francisco Chronicle, Maria is featured in the Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series. This latest book is the follow-up to her critically acclaimed novel Longing.

“Dying Unfinished is a lyrical novel that takes place over three generations and that reminds us of the arduousness, and even desolation, of love relationships-between husband and wife, spouse and lover, mother and daughter…”–Kirkus Reviews–

Dying Unfinished is about a mother and daughter’s difficult relationship made more so by the mother’s affair with her daughter’s husband. Narrated by both women this tumultuous story coincides with a 70 year period where the world under went massive change.

This story is about Eleanor and her daughter Rosa. Both have problems – Eleanor finds it difficult to communicate and there is a deep sadness in her, and Rosa has mental health problems. The book recalls events in both their lives – flashing from the present to the past. Eleanor remembering her childhood, searching for her identity and happiness, raising three children and trying to love Rosa. Rosa, struggling with her schizophrenia, trying to find her identity and trying to please her mother. The book is narrated by both Eleanor and Rosa, giving an insight into how each is feeling.

I am not sure what to write about this book. I didn’t really enjoy it but wanted to keep reading. There is a lot of sex in this book – Eleanor has many affairs, and is raped – but sex seems to be how she gets enjoyment and how she connects with people. Rosa has tremendous mood swings, also likes sex, has a little girl who helps her find herself and places all the blame for her struggles on Eleanor.

I’m not sure I had a favourite character. I don’t think I liked anyone in the book particularly. There were those I definitely did not like – such as Rosa’s abusive and manipulative husband, nor Aaron, Eleanor’s husband, an artist who seemed very self-involved – life had to revolve around him.

I didn’t feel there was particularly a story – just lots of memories and experiences. And I didn’t feel that anything was really resolved by the end of the book.

Overall, I wasn’t particularly happy reading this book, but was hooked anyway. I have come away unsatisfied.


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