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Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything: 11/06/20
Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland is set in southern Arizona in a small town at the edge of the Sonoran desert. Sia feels trapped by circumstances. It's been three years since ICE took her mother and deported her to Mexico, a country she didn't know, having left at six months old. She and her father have been told her mother died while trying to cross the Sonora. Now as she's trying to move on and her life is about to get very weird.
Instead of this book being a contemporary realistic fiction about white supremacy, ICE, the dismantling of the DREAMERs program, the novel goes on a science fiction tangent. Essentially this novel embraces all the themes that Earth to Charlie by Justin Olson (2018) danced around before going for a contemporary/realistic approach.
Even before the narrative turns towards science fiction, the overall tone reminded me of the 1986 film Hombre mirando al sudeste, which leaves you wondering if the main character really is an extraterrestrial. If, however, you look at the original film poster, you'll see symbolism from Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1943). That implies quite heavily that yes, he is an extraterrestrial. More so, he might very well be the little prince. The 2015 3D film further plays with the theme of a jaded, grown up little prince, though in this case, he's a janitor in an oppressive society.
I bring up these tangential thoughts because Sia's story shares some themes and overall mood with the three related stories. Sia's mother is in the role of the prince, being both literally magical and yet practical when it comes to the hardships of life. Sia is like the pilot who has lived through the aftermath of her mother's disappearance, assumed death, return, and well, possible death. While her mother has been gifted with extraordinary abilities, Sia despite her anger and PTSD remains hopeful and more of a believer in magic than her mother.
The novel for all its twists and turns sits on the road narrative spectrum. Sia's journey is one taken either as a couple (with Noah) or as a family (with her father, and later mother and father). Couple and families are the same kind of traveler (33).
Her destination is uhoria (CC), figuratively and literally. For the figurative, it's the desire to undo her mother's deportation. For the literal, it's the abilities she gains from her mother to potentially control time, although like in Hombre mirando al sudeste, whether she can or not, or whether she'll actually be able to rescue her mother, is left to the reader's imagination.
Finally, the route Sia and her family takes is the labyrinth (99). For her mother, it's the spiral of being taken to Mexico, and returning, but not directly. For Sia is a physical transformation brought about after meeting her mother.
All together, Sia's story can be summarized as a couple/family traveling to uhoria via the labyrinth (33CC99).