La Chiripa

La Chiripa urges me to visit Huehuetenango, a city I am unfamiliar with. While reading La Chiripa, I had a sense of knowledge of the city as though I was there as the story was unfolding and actually happening to me. Kaimana Wolff takes differing views of the events from the many characters involved, while allowing the young girl Pira to carry the first section, “La Violencia” and the psychopathic Matt Wayne to carry the second part, “El Silencio”–the very terms Guatemaltecans use for their recent past and present day. All those different views made me pay attention, because if I didn’t I would get lost, and would have to start all over again. (Hey, there is nothing wrong with re-reading such a good story!)  I found it helpful to be taken back into Pira’s Canadian past so that we understand what really happened and what not, and I loved the vivid description of each story and scene–very helpful to make the movie run in my mind’s eye. I applaud Wolff for meticulous research, including trips to Todos Santos and Huehuetenango, in order to write this amazing book! La Chiripa must become a film–I would see it in a heartbeat, good reviews or not! Can’t wait the next book in what Wolff calls The Falling Sky Trilogy–watch for more of feisty Pira and her satanic father in Pale Criminal.”

—Luis Zajac

“A piercing look at the psychology of the main characters, especially insightful into the mind of a Canadian pre-teen abducted by her mother. Inventive plot, language and structure make La Chiripa enjoyable on many levels. Sparkling dialogue and all-too-human vignettes bring together Japanese tourists, the peoples of Guatemala and, best of all, the sparky character of precocious Pira, on the run with her kooky mother from her estranged—and strange—father. A feat!”

—Tanis Helliwell, Decoding Your Destiny

“Fantastic! I’m not an avid reader but I couldn’t put it down. And I really couldn’t—I was glued to that bench in the kitchen for two days.”

—Carla Soregaroli

“This, the tale of a young girl’s struggle to create meaning, is not a young girl’s book. It is a book for adults, a cautionary story about the chaos we weave and for which we must ultimately bear responsibility.

“Its heroine, Pira, is the not-so-quiet centre at the book’s heart. What to say about Pira? In describing her, I’m driven to cliché: a tough shell guarding a tender, hidden heart—a heart that can be, and is, wounded. But Pira herself is no cliché. She is, in the author’s own words, ‘Ix, the jaguar girl!’

“The plot embodies the same twists as the roads of Todos Santos, where it is impossible to guess what is coming around the next corner. Know only that the author’s sure hand will guide us through the most frightening of mountain passes. Some books have a straightforward plot that takes us decorously from beginning to end. This is not a decorous book: it twists, it turns, it flings us into the air, and cares little where we may land. But there is truth at its core. Simple, profound truth, if we take the time to discover it.

“[A]ll children must reclaim the stolen parts of their lives. The glory is that it can indeed be done. That is the lesson Pira has come to teach us.”

—Susan Young de Biagi, Cibou


I loved the world building and character development. I’ve read it multiple times […] I can’t wait for the sequel!

S. Hamrick, Amazon review

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Bellica. Katje van Loon has created a vivid world filled with well developed characters that are easy to relate to. I look forward to more books from this author.

cathycr13, Amazon review

Katje’s character development is fantastic. She feeds details about the characters (and there are a lot of them, but don’t let that intimidate you!) in just large enough doses to keep you on your toes. Just when you think you know one of the characters…some new piece of information is released that changes what you thought you knew.

Mary Malinski, Circle of the Sacred Muse

Bellica is filled with vivid characters, and I greatly enjoyed reading their different viewpoints.  I was also angry when certain characters died, even if it was necessary to the story.  This novel overflows with intrigue, passion, and magek.

Robin A. Sams, author of Bea and other poems


“Wolff plays with time and place to craft an intricate plotline that keeps us guessing to the very end. Fine dialogue and memorable characters haunt us in more ways than one.”

—Susan Biagi, author of Cibou

“The mystique of absinthe expertly woven into the narrative as a ghostly character.”

—Frank Deiter, Okanagan Spirits, makers of Taboo Absinthe


“Katje van Loon is a runaway who not only clearly sees what she’s fleeing, she definitely knows what she’s seeking: a place where the world makes better sense and writing really can make, enrich, and save your life. Her instruments are ones “of soul and sass,” and her good work will thoroughly kick that part of your anatomy that rhymes with the latter as she wrings your brain with necessary thought. Don’t be glancing around as you read; she’s speaking to you.”

-Eric Shaffer, author of Portable Planet and Living at the Monastery, Working in the Kitchen

the witless poisoner

“I read again, and again. I smile, I play. I travel. I run. I try doing math Kaimana’s way. I create peace in me as she did. I prepare for nuclear attack. The adventure of her poetry seems a life in Paradise. Reading, I dream; afterwards, these voices come to mind again, repeating echoes of the dream.”

Ibrahim Honjo, Do not write this down and Roots in the stone

“Every line in Kaimana Wolff’s the witless poisoner glistens with the grit sticking to feet that actually go places, no matter how much nonsense they must stomp through. Wolff looks death right in the eye and grins, vowing to carry the “impossible egg” forward, always forward. In the grim face of the new millennium, these relentlessly accurate poems won’t take “no” for an answer.”

-Eric Shaffer, author of Portable Planet and Living at the Monastery, Working in the Kitchen