Join us for two exciting author events at College of Marin: in this event, Ingrid Rojas Contreras will discuss her delicious memoir, The Man Who Could Move Clouds. Admission is free and all are welcome. You don't need a ticket. Parking for these events is easy and free.
More information: https://library.marin.edu/ or (415) 485-9475. These events are sponsored by the Emeritus Students of College of Marin.
From the bestselling author of Fruit of the Drunken Tree, comes a dazzling, kaleidoscopic memoir reclaiming her family's otherworldly legacy.
For Ingrid Rojas Contreras, magic runs in the family. Raised amid the political violence of 1980s and '90s Colombia, in a house bustling with her mother’s fortune-telling clients, she was a hard child to surprise. Her maternal grandfather, Nono, was a renowned curandero, a community healer gifted with what the family called “the secrets”: the power to talk to the dead, tell the future, treat the sick, and move the clouds. And as the first woman to inherit “the secrets,” Rojas Contreras’ mother was just as powerful. Mami delighted in her ability to appear in two places at once, and she could cast out even the most persistent spirits with nothing more than a glass of water.
This legacy had always felt like it belonged to her mother and grandfather, until, while living in the U.S. in her twenties, Rojas Contreras suffered a head injury that left her with amnesia. As she regained partial memory, her family was excited to tell her that this had happened before: Decades ago Mami had taken a fall that left her with amnesia, too. And when she recovered, she had gained access to “the secrets.”
In 2012, spurred by a shared dream among Mami and her sisters, and her own powerful urge to relearn her family history in the aftermath of her memory loss, Rojas Contreras joins her mother on a journey to Colombia to disinter Nono’s remains. With Mami as her unpredictable, stubborn, and often amusing guide, Rojas Contreras traces her lineage back to her Indigenous and Spanish roots, uncovering the violent and rigid colonial narrative that would eventually break her mestizo family into two camps: those who believe “the secrets” are a gift, and those who are convinced they are a curse.
Interweaving family stories more enchanting than those in any novel, resurrected Colombian history, and her own deeply personal reckonings with the bounds of reality, Rojas Contreras writes her way through the incomprehensible and into her inheritance. The result is a luminous testament to the power of storytelling as a healing art and an invitation to embrace the extraordinary.
Ingrid Rojas Contreras was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Her debut novel Fruit of the Drunken Tree was the silver medal winner in First Fiction from the California Book Awards, and a New York Times editor's choice. Her essays and short stories have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Believer, and Zyzzyva, among others. She lives in California.
Margo Candela was born and raised in Los Angeles and began her writing career when she joined Glendale Community College’s student newspaper. She transferred to San Francisco State University as a journalism major, and upon graduation began writing for websites and magazines before writing her first two novels, Underneath It All and Life Over Easy. She returned to Los Angeles to raise her son and wrote More Than This and Goodbye to All That. The Neapolitan Sisters is her fifth novel and her first after a decade-long hiatus from writing. She now lives in San Francisco.
The Neapolitan Sisters - Three sisters. Three vastly different lives. A maelstrom of family secrets. For fans of María Amparo Escandón and Laurie Frankel, Margo Candela pens a riotous, provocative tale of family and sisterhood. Growing up with a kind but alcoholic father and a suspicious, passive aggressive mother, the Bernal sisters each developed their own way of coping: Dulcina had her art and drugs and alcohol, Claudia plunged into her studies and fled to Princeton, and Maritza watched one Disney movie after another in between devouring romance novels.
Told in alternating points of view, The Neapolitan Sisters is a humorous yet moving look at what it means to be a sister, daughter, and ultimately, your own self, despite the pressures that come with being part of a family.
Ingrid Rojas Contreras photo courtesy of Jamil Hellu. Margo Candela photo courtesy of Dennis Menendez.