We gave it an A-
Harriet Doerr was a 73-year-old widow resuming her college education when she published her first novel in 1983. Set in Mexico, where she lived on and off for 15 years, Stones for Ibarra won an American Book Award for the author’s luminous writing and coolly observant recollections of life (and human nature) in a tiny, dusty, deteriorating village. Ten years later, Doerr returns to the territory she loves and understands so well with Consider This, Señora, setting her story of expatriate North Americans with troubled souls in a similar tiny, dusty, deteriorating village of Mexicans who endure the invasion of foreign wanderers with placid patience.
The new inhabitants include Sue, an artistic, newly divorced woman in her early 30s; Bud, an unpoetic businessman fleeing charges of tax evasion; Frances, an unsettled woman in her early 40s trailing behind her a string of unsatisfying romances; and Fran’s mother, Ursula, a Mexican-born widow who has returned to her homeland to live out her days.
Doerr’s mature talent is in her ability to transmit without sentimentality the wisdom and perspective that come with getting older (to those who are fortunate), as well as the longings and desires of women of any age, and to locate these elemental emotions on a larger landscape of life and death under a beautifully rendered Mexican sun. A-