by Michael Ugarte
About the Book
Mercedes Light and Dark is everything the title implies and more. Leaving war-torn Spain and her disapproving family behind her, Mercedes, her handsome husband Paco, and their firstborn son make their way to the United States to find a new lease on life. They settle in New England where Paco has accepted an academic position at Dartmouth, and Mercedes begins building an integrated life in her new adopted culture. But was it her new culture? Was she becoming integrated? “Could be true, but didn’t happen” is Mercedes’ favorite response to many of the dilemmas she faces and to which she must respond.
Many surprises await the reader in this memoir infused with historic reference to the Spanish Civil War, the Spanish literature of that period, and how all these influences shaped Mercedes’ life.
Michael Ugarte tells a well thought-out story after excavating the “truths” he is able to find, and from Memory, both his friend and betrayer. Of course, this reminiscence is not only focused on Mercedes—the woman and mother she was—but it also exposes her son, Michael through his cathartic journey to understand his mother, her past, and his own emotions about his life with her.
About the author
Michael Ugarte, Professor Emeritas of Spanish literature and culture, spent his career teaching at the University of Missouri from 1979-2014. He has written extensively on Spanish literature. Fluent in both English and Spanish, Ugarte alternates living in two cultures. In the United States he resides at his home in Columbia, Missouri; and in Spain he enjoys his family residence in Albacete, not far from where both his mother and father were born.