In Perfect Light
In Perfect Light at first comes across as a polite, lyrical novel of healing and then reveals itself as a rather rude beast. Award-winning poet Benjamin Alire Sáenz introduces Andrés Segovia, a young Mexican-American man with a bad habit of beating folks up. Andrés enters court-ordered therapy with the wry, wise Grace Delgado, who’s not sure she can fix him: ”People could be totaled, just like cars.” Over the course of their sessions, Andrés’ brutal story begins to slip out: When he was a young boy in El Paso, his parents were killed in a car accident and his older brother took the family to live in Juárez, Mexico, where his childhood became a nightmare built of equal parts sexual abuse, drugs, and poverty. It turns out that Andrés isn’t quite totaled, but by the time his redemption rolls around, we’re so worn down we can barely appreciate it.