Book Nook: Tree of Sighs, by Lucrecia Guerrero
Lucrecia Guerrero grew up in Nogales, Arizona, right along the border with Mexico. That border land area has always exerted a powerful influence on her writing. Ten years ago she published a collection of short stories, "Chasing Shadows." These otherworldly, atmospheric tales served notice that Guerrero is a writer who possesses extraordinary talent.
She visited the Book Nook ten years ago to talk about that book and I have stayed in touch with her over the intervening years. She had been working on a novel and she experienced a number of false starts and detours before she finally completed "Tree of Sighs."
This novel is also set mostly along the border. The main character, Grace, grew up in the fictional town of Mesquite in Mexico. A series of tragedies forced her to move to the US and assume a new identity. As Guerrero explains in our interview, "Tree of Sighs" is a story about masks. Many of her characters are wearing figurative masks which conceal who they really are.
Guerrero throws in some autobiographical elements here. One section of the book is set in Dayton, Ohio where the author once worked as a teenager in a restaurant that was once right across the street from the Greyhound Bus depot. She has many connections with the region including a long association with the Antioch Writer's Workshop in Yellow Springs.