The Imaginary Life by Mara Torres
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Published: Grupo Planeta
Meet Fortunata Fortuna, at a crossroads but ready to make her mark on the world
What goes through your head when the person you love leaves you? What do you do with your life when you have to start it all over again? Do you make it up? Nata’s world fills with unanswered questions when Beto leaves her. But time doesn’t stop, and the stories that Nata begins to tell herself about her own life lead her to a place where everything becomes possible again.
Original and contemporary, this debut novel, a finalist for the Planeta Prize, has the nerve center of a confessional and introduces readers to Fortunata Fortuna, a character the world won’t soon forget.
Thanks to Netgalley and Open Road Integrated Media for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
How do you write a review for a book that you couldn't make sense of? I've just finished the Imaginary Life and find myself frustrated. For a story that started with promise, by Part Two the narrator lost me.
Fortunata Fortuna's boyfriend of years has left her, and despite everyone else around her urging her to move on she simply can't let go.
This part I understood. Some loves border obsession and it was nice to see this portrayed on paper, in the non-traditional sense. However, after she knew without a shadow of doubt that they were finished, I wished that she could have moved on. Keeping Nata attached to Beto throughout 97% of the book only served to prevent character growth. Every time I thought she was heading in the right direction Nata would take a leap back and do something that made me question her sanity.
I'm unsure if this book was meant to be psychological in any sense, but Nata seemed deluded. Imaginary friends, fantasies, all the running from a man she "loved"... I don't know. Maybe parts of this were meant to come across mythical realism, however, for me it only served to make the main character look crazy.
The book was well written enough. From my understanding it originated from Madrid, and was first released in Spanish. The culture in this story was actually what I liked most about it. In certain scenes it felt like I was in Madrid.
Fortunata Fortuna was a character I would have loved to know more about had the story had more substance. The ending left me wondering what was real and what wasn't. I feel like I completely missed the point.
While I flew through this, I can't help but wonder what kept me reading. The last part, Part Three jumped around enough to keep my head spinning, and the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind reenactment put the nail in the coffin.
Written with more character growth and less magical-element, I think this book would have worked for me. Perhaps if there's a second I will pick it up to learn what happened to Fortunata after all.