Prime Meridian by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Prime Meridian wasn’t at all what I expected, and it was all the more impactful for it.

Set in future Mexico City, it centers around the struggles and dreams of 25-year-old Amelia. After dropping out of college to take care of her ailing mother, Amelia is now barely eking out a living, while holding tight to her dream of one day going to Mars.

The story is nothing short of gripping. The setting is mostly grim, with masterful touches of a too-realistic dystopian future. Amelia, our heroine, is crushed under the weight of financial insecurity and used as unpaid help by her sister. She’s biding her time – she’s selling her time, even, on a rent-a-friend app where she offers her company to lonely people. One of her clients, an old former actress, tells her the tales of the phantasmagorical Mars of moviemakers.

Prime Meridian, in a way, has the hallmarks of a fairytale story – a wicked sister, a prince charming, a fairy godmother; yet it’s all twisted.

Moreno-Garcia’s depiction of poverty is haunting: how it taints every social interaction, how mentally and physically exhausting it is, how it makes one feel small and trapped. I rooted for Amelia, for her rage, for her flaws and failures, for her unwavering belief in her dream.

I really enjoyed this novella. It’s masterfully written and emotionally heavy. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

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