Woman of Light is EPIC. It's cross-generational, matriarchal, gender non-conforming and is the the American West my heart knows. I was reminded of C. Pam Zhang's How Much of These Hills is Gold while reading it because like Zhang's novel, Woman of Light unearths the forgotten stories of the American West. And as with Sabrina & Corina the female-identifying characters cross age and background and show "women's work" is not a trop but the foundation of community. This novel is ferocious, bold and tender. At the center of the novel is matriarch Marie Josie, Luz a tea leaf reader and her brother Diego a snake charmer who is run out of town by a violent, white mob. It's a novel about family secrets, land, myth and love. It's about our ancesestors and reclaiming our stories. The prose is radiant, the characters are unforgettable. Woman of Light is a remarkable debut novel. — From Michelle's Picks (page 1)
A dazzling epic of betrayal, love, and fate that spans five generations of an Indigenous Chicano family in the American West, from the author of the National Book Award finalist Sabrina & Corina
ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022—The Millions, Electric Lit, Lit Hub, Book Riot
There is one every generation, a seer who keeps the stories.
Luz “Little Light” Lopez, a tea leaf reader and laundress, is left to fend for herself after her older brother, Diego, a snake charmer and factory worker, is run out of town by a violent white mob. As Luz navigates 1930s Denver, she begins to have visions that transport her to her Indigenous homeland in the nearby Lost Territory. Luz recollects her ancestors’ origins, how her family flourished, and how they were threatened. She bears witness to the sinister forces that have devastated her people and their homelands for generations. In the end, it is up to Luz to save her family stories from disappearing into oblivion.
Written in Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s singular voice, the wildly entertaining and complex lives of the Lopez family fill the pages of this multigenerational western saga. Woman of Light is a transfixing novel about survival, family secrets, and love—filled with an unforgettable cast of characters, all of whom are just as special, memorable, and complicated as our beloved heroine, Luz.
About the Author
Kali Fajardo-Anstine is the author of Sabrina & Corina, a finalist for the National Book Award, the PEN/Robert W.Bingham Prize, The Story Prize, and winner of an American Book Award. She is the 2021 recipient of the Addison M. Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her work has been honored with the Denver Mayor’s Global Impact Award for Excellence in Arts & Culture and the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association Reading the West Book Award for Fiction. She has written for The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, ELLE, The American Scholar, Boston Review, and elsewhere, and has received fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and Tin House. Fajardo-Anstine holds an MFA from the University of Wyoming and has lived across the country, from Durango, Colorado, to Key West, Florida. She is the 2022–2023 Endowed Chair in Creative Writing at Texas State University. She is from Denver, Colorado.
“This indelible novel shines its big light on the Lopez family so brightly that I could draw a map of their breath. An absolutely glorious novel.”—Emma Straub, author of All Adults Here
“This is a rare and wondrous kind of novel that assembles the universe from mere words, whose unforgettable characters haunt like long shadows in the southwestern light.”—Gary Shteyngart, bestselling author of Lake Success
“Pure, simple, and luminescent. There are no other words to describe Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s Woman of Light, a brilliant conflagration of a story that opens the eyes and inflames the heart.”—Craig Johnson, author of the Longmire series
“Woman of Light is an intimate and intensely moving story of a Latinx and Indigenous family in the American West. Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s lyrical, unpretentious prose renders the generations of women of this story in all of their complexity, offering a nuanced perspective on how the past can inform the future. Once again, Fajardo-Anstine proves she is a formidable, necessary voice in fiction.”—Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Malibu Rising
“This is a cinematic, epic story. Kali Fajardo-Anstine brings her keen understanding of desire, vulnerability, and destiny to this gorgeous reclaiming of lost history.”—Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk and The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing
“With a single phrase, a single line of dialogue, a single description, Fajardo-Anstine has the power to accurately express the joy and sadness in a person’s life, their history, and how the world comes into contact with us, and how we come into contact with the world. The combination of a composed style and a passionate world view underlying all of her work is truly wonderful. It’s captivating. Fajardo-Anstine is a special author to me.”—Mieko Kawakami (translated by David Boyd), author of Heaven and Breasts and Eggs