See How Much I Love You
Marion Boyers, Jan 2010, $14.95
In Barcelona, teenagers Santiago and Montse meet and fall in love. However, he comes from a poor background while she is educated middle class. Although she is pregnant, they break up leading to a depressed Santiago leaving Spain for the Western Sahara where Spain’s only African colony is located. By 1975 with Spain gone, war breaks out between Morocco and the Saharawi. Montse learns her beloved is dead.
However, three decades later a divorced doctor, Montse finds a picture of Santiago carried by a patient. She learns he lives and lost his spouse and child just like her. She realizes she never forgotten the love of her life. Deciding to find him, she treks to what was once Spanish Morocco in search of her Santiago. She thinks she knows the danger, but the Western Sahara remains dangerous especially the Saharawi refugee camps where he is escorting a family. Still she continues her quest for love.
Although there is a bittersweet romantic connection, the story line focuses on the little heard about plight of the Saharawi in western Morocco. The story line starts slow but takes off at the first reference to Santiago in Africa though the plot moves back and forth in time. Complicated, Luis Leante provides a profound look at Western Sahara where another people has been negatively impacted by imperialism, but ultimately devastated from neighbors within Africa.