David Lida, One Life

Andrew Paxman

Esperanza Morales is a Tess of the d’Urbervilles for our times. Like Thomas Hardy’s tragic heroine, she is a good and beautiful woman, constrained by humble origins, preyed upon by men, and – so it appears – driven by desperation to murder. As the story of this undocumented immigrant opens, she faces the death penalty in unforgiving Louisiana for killing her baby. In Esperanza’s life, to recall the lot of another Hardy heroine, happiness is but an occasional episode in a general drama of pain.

For all this, One Life is not a depressing novel but a strangely uplifting one. It’s largely told from the viewpoint of a droll mitigation specialist, an expatriate loner called Richard, who guides us through the miseries of Mexican poverty and the injustices of the U.S. legal system with fascinating insight and through the disappointments of his own life with self-deprecating humour. It’s a story…

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This entry was posted in Mexico.

3 comments on “David Lida, One Life

  1. wkaliher says:

    nice work—makes me want to read—sadly i am about 3000 behind on novels i want to consume– hope all is well bill

    On Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 1:46 AM, Red Shoes are Better than Bacon wrote:

    > redshoesarebetterthanbacon posted: ” ” >


  2. Ever read a book that’s so good you just want to sit down and read it all over again? That was One Life for me. But I foolishly lent it out, so the re-read will just have to wait. The lasting impression that One LIfe made upon me was how a prison sentence provided Esperanza with the security, stability, and opportunity for an education that she never had in the Tierra Caliente, never in Morelia, never in Juarez, never in Louisiana.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sara j ferguson says:

    Beautiful, informative review . . . well done.



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