Ever wondered what living between two cultures ever felt like?
Well, wonder no more as Stubborn Archivist, a descriptive insight into that life by a British/Brazillian author named Yara Rodrigues Fowler gives us a glimpse into how that life pans out.
The three-chapter book introduces us to a Brazilian/British researcher, who strings us along through the journey of her messy life under the themes of work, love, loss, family, friendships and sickness.
The researcher, unnamed throughout the whole book, lets us in on her life through conversations and thoughts – that could be likened like those written in a stranger’s diary that leaves one yearning to know more about the stranger with every page turn.
The researcher, who is fighting to belong in the two cultures, let’s the reader into the trauma inflicted upon her by her ex-lover Leo.
Their relationship, introduced in a series of incomplete poems as a young, perfect and ‘nothing could ever go wrong’ type of relationship slowly turns sour.
Gradually growing from an introductory phase of handshakes, pleasantries to an ‘intimate relationship’ where the sex, sometimes mutually enjoyable and at times non-consensual left the protagonist feeling like she is living in a ‘broken body’.
The researcher also lets the reader into the lives of generations before hers, who also went through the same struggles of fighting to belong in a multifaceted cultural society.
Failing to find her feet between the two cultures, she sometimes finds herself switching from English to Portuguese in order to be understood.
This is a book of hope and fight back, as the scribe also strings the reader through her journey of embracing love once more, healing, growth and finding herself the best way she knows how.
The book’s incomplete structure, which has a ‘cut and join’ touch to it not only leaves the reader yearning for the completeness of each unfinished phrase, sentence and chapter, but forces the reader to preempt what will happen next.
This book is a proper page-turner and a must-read for those struggling to find their place in a multifaceted society.