Consider This, Señora Essay - Critical Essays

Consider This, Señora

CONSIDER THIS, SENORA is the second novel by Harriet Doerr, who won the American Book Award in 1984 for STONES FOR IBARRA. In her typically clear, precise prose, Doerr depicts approximately six years in the lives of four Americans who settle temporarily in the tiny village of Amapolas from 1962 to 1968. Each of her ten chapters describes an episode in the lives of one or more of the Americans, whimsically contrasting them and their actions with Mexico and its people.

Susanna Ames, a beautiful divorcee in her late twenties looking to settle in Mexico, is persuaded by fellow American and land speculator Bud Loomis to back him in his latest venture. He has his heart set on the ancestral home of Don Enrique Ortiz de Leon, at Amapolas, which he plans to subdivide and sell as lots. The other two Americans who join Sue and Bud are Fran Bowles, a twice-divorced travel writer, and her aging mother, Ursula. Because of her age and because she is the most fully realized character, Ursula is perhaps the character with whom the eighty-three-year-old author most identifies.

The book’s setting, Mexico, is essential to Doerr’s tale of life and death, escape and self-discovery. Its people, its landscape, and its sense of history are interwoven to form the rich tapestry against which Doerr’s characters are brought to life. Her descriptions of the downside of Mexican culture, the corruption, the senseless deaths, the poverty, even the effort to travel that inevitably involves major detours and time-consuming delays, all these things that the Mexicans accept so blithely as a part of everyday life, that the Americans constantly rail against, combine to form a very complete, very detailed picture that is more perceptive than tragic.

Sources for Further Study

Booklist. LXXXIX, June 1, 1993, p.1734.

Boston Globe. August 15, 1993, p.14.

Chicago Tribune. August 22, 1993, XIV, p.5.

The Christian Science Monitor. September 1, 1993, p.13.

Los Angeles Times Book Review. August 22, 1993, p.1.

The New York Times Book Review. XCVIII, August 15, 1993, p.12.

The New Yorker. LXIX, November 8, 1993, p.139.

Publishers Weekly. CCXL, June 21, 1993, p.84.

USA Today. August 27, 1993, p. D5.

The Washington Post Book World. XXIII, August 8, 1993, p.4.