• Kateri Kramer

DESCANSO FOR MY FATHER BOOK REVIEW

Descanso For My Father


“Descanso for My Father; Fragments of a Life” by Harrison Candelaria Fletcher was quite possibly one of my favorite, and most helpful books I’ve read this semester. I have been struggling for some time, to figure out a way to bring my mother into a text that centers around my father. “Descanso for My Father” does an incredible job of painting portraits of all the people involved in Fletcher’s family. It wasn’t until I read this book, did I realize how important that was. I wanted to have an artifact that represented my father, his life, and what he meant to me, but in restricting my writing to only him, I was eliminating a crucial element; my family. My father meant a great deal to everyone in my family and to not spend the appropriate amount of time on them I was doing a disservice to my father’s story. I think that going forward, I would like to spend some time writing about other members of my family who had a great impact on my father and whom he had an impact on. I think that in the long run, when everything is put together this will create a fuller, more dynamic portrait of who my father was and what he meant to the people he loved.


In addition to this new understanding, it was a joy to experience Fletcher’s different use of form. I love that he uses artifacts to evoke memories of his family and I think that was what I was attempting to do in the “Painting with my Father” piece. I would like to experiment with this more as I am learning that writing shorter pieces that can link together, or shorter essays as a whole is something I am very interested in.


I thought that one of the greatest strengths of this text was that the South West, namely New Mexico was as much a character in this text as any of the members of Fletcher’s family. After reading the book by John Muir I expressed the desire to do more nature writing in the pieces about my father, but in that particular writing I would like to write the wild as a character. I think this is the only way to potentially express the love that my father, and I, have for it.


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