The Farm

Set in Colombia, The Farm by Héctor Abad is a lush story told in three alternating voices. Antonio, Eva and Pilar are siblings who have inherited La Oculta, the family farm, after the death of their mother. Their story documents how one family came to live and work at La Oculta, and Abad embellishes it with violence, intrigue, suspense, traditions and Colombian culture. Although Antonio lives in New York City with his husband, Jon, he returns to the farm several times a year and takes it upon himself to gather the family's genealogical history. Pilar is the most tradition-bound of the three, content to marry the first man she falls in love with and have many children. Meanwhile, Eva is the free spirit constantly searching for new adventures and relationships.

Abad beautifully intertwines these three distinct personalities against the backdrop of La Oculta and the people who work for the family. He is expert in his ability to describe the feelings the siblings have for one another, for their parents and friends. His descriptions of the land make the reader fall in love with the place, creating a sense of nostalgia for a fictional site filled with mountains, a lake, fruit trees and an old house stuffed with memories. When conflict arises among the siblings and La Oculta is threatened, readers viscerally share in the pain they experience as the story reaches its moving conclusion. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

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