The big lie about women is that we are weak and inferior—the lesser sex
that needs protection. The truth, as depicted vividly in Women of Fire and
Snow, is that we are strong and powerful, connected to the mystical and
the divine, and perfectly capable of protecting ourselves.
Nati del Paso has channeled the voices of five extraordinary women,
marginalized and meaningless to the men, and the society, who prefer to
silence them. Travel from the snow of Snoqualmie to the fire of
Popocatépetl to witness these Women of Fire and Snow as they navigate
modern life using their wits and their ancestors’ wisdom as their guide.
These are stories that will reverberate in your heart long after you’ve
turned the last page.
—Sylvia Madrigal, author of Of Two Minds
Del Paso’s book, a collection of short stories called “Women of
Fire and Snow,” is at once intentionally disruptive to the status
quo, yet deliciously satisfying to the soul. The stories and their
vivid characters offer a glimpse of true justice found only in the
outer limits of the human imagination. They are uniquely
indigenous in conception yet universal in their reach.
—Bill Conroy, investigative journalist, author of Flip Flop
La voz y la pluma de Nati son las de quien auténticamente ha vivido el fenómeno de ser
arrancado de su tierra natal, de ese apego que uno siente y que posteriormente tiene que
volver a enraizar para no sentirse un apátrida, o un desarraigado. Su experiencia le permite
habitar el cuerpo y los sentimientos de los protagonistas de la historia. Todo escritor abreva de
su experiencia, y Nati ha transitado en los dos países que retrata en momentos clave de su
vida. Desde su nacimiento en California, su infancia, adolescencia y primera adultez en la
Ciudad de México para volver a su natal Estados Unidos, primero en Reno y después en
Washington en donde el contacto con migrantes indocumentados le ha permitido abrir sus ojos
y su corazón con la empatía y compasión que alguien que ha sido arrancado de sus raíces y
creencias se aferra a lo aprendido por generaciones.
En esta era de conflictos partidarios, de polarización y de división, la prosa de Nati nos permite
ponernos en el lugar del otro. En el terreno incómodo que pone la piel al rojo vivo y lacera nuestras emociones volviéndonos mejores seres humanos.
— Felipe Fernandez del Paso, Mexican director of theater and film, stage designer, production designer, and author
Powerful, engaging tales that make vivid use of magical realism.
This debut short story collection traces the lives of Mexican American women as they navigate crises arising from gender, politics, and the supernatural. The settings of these eight tales swing between two geographical poles, the fire and snow of the
book’s title: Mexico and Washington state’s Snoqualmie Valley area. The spatial opposition mirrors psychic, political, and emotional dislocations in the characters’ lives, as in “The Devil
You Know,” one of the volume’s strongest stories. Emiliana now lives in South Seattle, but she grew up in Mexico. She was trained as a curandera; during her first healing, Emiliana encountered Tzitzitlime, a powerful demon from the stars. Ever since, he’s appeared to Emiliana when tragedy threatens. Now, after an ominous vision, she’s visiting her great-granddaughter,
Tatiana, who recently married Liam, a violent and controlling man. Emiliana again confronts the demon, which forces her to reevaluate the past and her role as a healer. Empowered by a deep
connection with the spirits of her mother and grandmother, she comes to her great-granddaughter’s rescue. The world in these stories is threatened by violence, death, and destruction, sometimes overwhelming but sometimes defied through ties of family, friendship, and the mystical. In her collection, del Paso tells tales that often contain elements of horror and suspense. It’s a commentary on women’s lived experience that some of the most horrific motifs are simple fact, such as the epidemic of femicides in Ecatepec de Morelos, Mexico. In such a world, spirits and demons seem right at home alongside more mundane events, allowing the stories to venture into dramatic, even melodramatic, territory without feeling artificial or overdone. While the pieces often describe stark choices or harsh fates, there’s also a strong vein of assurance that nature, spirit, and the land itself can redress balances.
When Nati Del Paso’s characters speak of being “Ni de aquí, ni de allá” — neither from here nor
from there — they speak of straddling borders; each foot in two separate worlds. Not only do the
characters in Women of Fire and Snow feel stuck on the literal border between Mexico and the
U.S., but Del Paso’s stories also transcend the figurative border of reality and mysticism.
Del Paso’s collection of stories are powerful tales of struggle and triumph. While exploring
themes of sexism and racism, readers will appreciate how Del Paso weaves tales of resilient
women facing monsters, both real and supernatural.
— Jose Olivares, investigative journalist
In Nati Del Paso’s book, ‘Women of Fire and Snow,’ strong women face terrifying trials with grit, grace and help from the spirit world. These vivid short stories show the supernatural isn’t to be feared — that is if you’re on the side of justice. Set in the rugged Snoqualmie area of Washington state, these tales weave together other-worldly energies and Indigenous wisdom, and feature characters determined to improve their and their families’ lives. This compilation is eerie, captivating and well-written.
---Kathleen Berry, author, “A Reluctant Spirit: A True Tale of God, Ghosts and a Skeptical Christian
— Kathleen Berry, author