Alicia lives much as her Isabo ancestors have lived for centuries in the Amazon jungle of Peru. She is astonished when "two old white ladies" arrive on the river and announce through their boatman, the girl's mother's brother's wife's brother, that they want to settle in Poincushmana for a time, to study. They are anthropologists (and actually in their twenties), but to Alicia and the others they are stingy, too skinny, sexually naive, and strangers. It is a baby girl (more valuable in the village than a boy!) who helps bridge the gap--a child whom young Alicia adopts to save her from her brutish Peruvian trader father. In the end, the time Alicia, Joanna, and Margarita share is hardly enough. Their story, vividly shown, is unique to its setting. It could happen nowhere else on earth. The author writes in a note: "This is a work of fiction based on real places, experiences, and people in the early 1970s. It is not known whether the actual village or any of those very real people still exist."
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By the end, while there are some gulfs that cannot be crossed (e.g., when her adopted baby daughter dies, Alicia believes that Joanna and Margarita exhibit unnecessarily prolonged grief), the villagers and visitors achieve a degree of mutual understanding.| Read Full Review of Go and Come Back
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