I received a copy of The Imaginary Life by Mara Torres in exchange for a review and my honest opinion.
It took about three pages to fall into the world of this book. For a moment, I was confused – who was talking to who, where were we, what was going on? But then everything clicked into place, and my heart broke for Nata.
When her boyfriend decides that they need to go ‘on a break’ after drifting apart, Nata’s friends consider her single – after all, she hasn’t heard from her Alberto in months, and they’re pretty sure ‘on a break’ has become ‘broken up’. So, having exhausted her shoulders to cry on and people to vent to, Nata retreats to her journal and her imagination. Imagining what Alberto might be doing, writing him letters, trying to fall for another man, trying to rejoin the single social life…
Written in a deliciously quirky way, The Imaginary Life felt like an indie movie in words. Nothing is lost in translation for Spanish author Torres – in fact, I think a hint of Spanish flair added to the overall zest of the novel. Perhaps one reason I liked this book so much is because I could so easily put myself in Nata’s shoes… I, too, struggle to let things go, and can hold on to people too long. I know all too well what it’s like to exhaust your list of people that you can talk to about someone, and be left inside your head, imagining what could have been if only this or that had been different.
This book is definitely all about Nata, so if first person, introspective, somewhat self-obsessed books aren’t your thing, then give this one a miss – but for lovers of quirky romance stories, this is definitely worth a read!