One day, completely out of the blue, Becky Escobar tells her husband, Ira, that she has decided he is not going to live with her and their children any longer. A similar event occurred in Hinojosa’s life in 1988, when Patti, his wife of twenty-five years, unexpectedly filed for divorce and left for California, taking their daughter, Clarissa, with her.
Becky is extremely calculating in ending her marriage so abruptly. She has a moving company pack Ira’s belongings, which are out of the house by the time he returns home from his job as a county commissioner. What follows are the reactions of twenty-six townspeople (including both Ira and Becky) to the end of a marriage that was generally considered stable.
As in all of Hinojosa’s novels, the cast of characters is familiar. Readers of the whole series have met most of them before and will certainly have formed opinions about them, although some of the characters change significantly from book to book.
The author involves himself in the narrative immediately in the first section, “Lionel Villa,” where he begins by saying, “Let’s drop in on Lionel Villa and hear what he has to say regarding Rebecca—alias Becky—Escobar.” This informality persists in most of the twenty-six sections that follow.
Lionel is Becky’s uncle and is probably, therefore, a biased witness. His testimony, however, is counterbalanced by that of such a broad collection of other...
(The entire section is 445 words.)