A poignant collage of stories of women young and old, this novel from an Alfaguara Prize–winning author explores both the need to be seen and the need to disappear.
In present-day New York, Margarita grapples with insecurities on her fifty-sixth birthday. She feels neglected by her husband, and suspects he’s having an affair with one of his students. Mysteries surrounding two friends offer both a distraction and unexpected insight:
Anne, the concierge of her apartment building, has suddenly vanished without a trace, leaving Anne’s mother to confront a long-held secret.
Juliana, now in her eighties, is eager to find the woman who changed the course of her life more than sixty years ago.
With a seamless blend of reality and fiction, Carla Guelfenbein takes us back to the 1940s to provide answers, drawing on the intimate letters that Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral wrote to her lover and executor, Doris Dana, in the years after their first meeting at Barnard College. Struggling under the weight of Gabriela’s intense attachment, the much younger Doris enjoys a passionate night of sex and alcohol with a childhood friend while they’re apart.
Far from the chaste, self-sacrificing image imposed on Mistral after her death because she never married, the characters of One in Me I Never Loved reflect womanhood in all its complexities, challenging the limits on their freedom and sexuality.