My one consolation from the folding of the Washington Post's "Book World" is that editor Marie Arana will have more time to write fiction now that she has taken off her green shade. Some two years ago, what I think is her first novel, Cellophane, appeared, a novel that I loved and have handsold to many customers. In rich, dense, sensuous writing about four generations a Peruvian family in the Amazon, Arana's imaginative story is memorable in its characters. Now I have finished Arana's second novel, the just-published Lima Nights. Just as I suspected, the characters are outsized and colorful; the story travels along with many unexpected twists and turns. Arana loves all her characters, and in writing about them she spreads her affections, even to meandering husbands. But what I loved most about Lima is the way in which Arana turned what could have been a moral tale into a bang-up ending featuring a lawyer, a psychiatrist, a fortune-teller, and a psychic all richly adding their interpretations to the failed relationship of our heroine, Maria.
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