This Month's Sleeper Hit

11.20.2012

By Emily Drabinski

In Monica Trasandes's 'Broken Like This,' the fate of a comatose character lies in the hands of her former lovers -- one a man, the other a woman.

A coma serves as the flash point of Monica Trasandes’s intricately crafted first novel, Broken Like This (Thomas Dunne Books, $24.99).

Louis has been in love with Kate Harrington since he sat behind her in a junior high math class. Angela fell in love with her later at a college in Madrid. After receiving news that a car crash in Ibiza has rendered Kate unconscious, both rush to her bedside and begin plotting to fly her to a better hospital in Madrid, while also trying to fend off Kate’s stepfather, whose years of sexual abuse left her unable to love either Louis or Angela.

Broken Like This is a serious, page-turning tale that spans 12 years and three countries, the product of years of mixing and remixing five short stories into a tightly structured narrative.

“I really wanted to recreate the experience of that extraordinary desire you have when you first fall in love with someone,” says the Uruguay-born, Los Angeles–based Trasandes. “It’s also very frightening the way that person stays with you.”

While the novel addresses romance from multiple perspectives, both straight and gay, the representation of love between two women matters most to Trasandes, who is also the director of Spanish-language media for GLAAD.

“It’s incredibly important for people to be able to read their stories in literature, to see their lives reflected,” she says. “We deserve that.”

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