Flora’s Suitcase

Rabinovich, Dalia. Flora’s Suitcase. New York: HarperFlamingo, 1998.

Reason read: Columbia gained its independence in August.

Confessional: this is one of the few times I actually like magical realism. It works for Flora’s Suitcase. Flora is a woman trying to make a new life for herself and her family in Columbia. Originally from Cincinnati, Flora, her husband, David and newborn son, Sol emigrate to David’s homeland. Flora is caught between the traditions of her Jewish American upbringing and the spicy, colorful ones of her new family – David’s three all-knowing, overbearing sisters and their families. Add the escalating attentions of the male members of the family, an ever-growing brood of her own, and a bevy of inept maids and Flora’s life is pure chaos. She keeps a suitcase packed, ready to escape back to Cincinnati but somehow never seems to make it out the door.

Quotes that made me think. “Had Flora known that a mango sealed her fate, she would have lunged toward her husband and pushed him overboard” (p 4).

Author fact: Rabinovich was born in Columbia but lives in New York.

Book trivia: the cover for Flora’s Suitcase is at once arresting and at length interesting. Flora? sits off kilter on a windowsill with a closed suitcase at her feet. A parrot sits on the suitcase while another swoops in from above. Are they the reason she looks about ready to topple out the open window? She leans at an awkward angle with a hand in the air as if to say, Catch me!

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter obviously called “Hail, Columbia” (p 91).

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