Come Together, Fall Apart.
Dallas’s CRISTINA HENRIQUEZ has assembled a heart-stopping collection of stories set in Panama in her first book, COME TOGETHER, FALL APART. She hints at the nation’s poverty—overcrowded homes, ramshackle furniture—but doesn’t dwell on it, instead finding rich narratives in mundane events. Take the poignant “Ashes,” in which young Mireya is coping with the loss of her job, mother, and boyfriend, as well as with a senile father who has been drunk for as long as she can remember. Joy to her is fleeting, occasioned by a poem or a once-in-a-lifetime steakhouse dinner; grief is just another burden. But she safeguards the memories—her mother’s zest for politics and how she named Mireya after the president—that sustain her. Henríquez’s writing is vibrant, her affecting portraits of Panama’s young women ultimately a celebration of humanity, with all its flaws.