Gringa in a Strange Land brings back the exhilarating and confusing time of the “counterculture” in the early 1970’s.
Erica Mason, an American woman living in Mexico, is torn between working to become an artist and the lure of the drug culture.
Set mostly in the colonial city of Merida in the Yucatan peninsula, the story also moves among Mayan ruins, laid-back beaches and the cities of Belize and Oaxaca.
A host of bohemian expats and Mexicans, and the complex character of Mexico itself, infuse this portrait-of-the-artist-as-a-young-American, culminating in an unexpected resolution.
I have always loved to write about characters, usually edgy, little-known folks with wonderful stories and talents. I love places too and music, above all jazz. As a girl, I dreamed of traveling around the world and as soon as I could, I took to the road. I was fortunate to live and work in a number of Latin American countries. After college (Latin American Studies, University of Wisconsin), I moved to the Yucatan in Mexico, and then made the pilgrimage to another foreign country called New York with a suitcase and several hundred dollars. This was in the mid-l970’s. Finding the requisite cheap, shabby apartment (you could still do so in those days), I started writing in earnest. I had a number of ridiculous jobs to pay the rent, such as writing reviews of C- movies I never actually saw (no one else seemed to be watching them either), driving an ice-cream truck in Central park for just one day until I had a fender-bender, and writing a history of all the world’s cheese with a two-week deadline for a manic food editor. I managed also to produce novels, biographies and essays about women in jazz, and quirky travel articles about such topics as the Carmen Miranda Museum in Rio, a priestess of Candomble, a.k.a. voodoo (interview in rudimentary Portuguese), and a Mayan folk healer.
I am happy to say that most of my writing efforts have been published, well-reviewed and are still in print. My latest novel, a love-child, is “Gringa in a Strange Land,” available in January 2010.
You can visit Linda Dahl’s website at http://www.lindadahl.com/.
For me… this wasn’t an easy read.
The subject matter was difficult for me
(due to family circumstances),
and I was left feeling down.
Not that the writing wasn’t good, but
I wanted to strangle the main character.
I remained in a constant state of frustration to the very end.
Just not a book for me.