Carlos Aceves. Diadema. ISBN 978-0-9796457-6-1 . $24.95.
Carlos Aceves has created an allegorical story rooted in the deepest essence of the Latino soul. Diadema is a symbolic artifice very much like Doña Marina, La Malinche, searching for her child, her very being. Knitted in a true story, Aceves bring forward the Latino imperative of who really are we? What are our roots? This is the Hispanic crucial element of understanding self. Latinos are not alone. Spain if often called by Spaniards "the whore of Europe" for it was invaded by most every group in Europe creating a concatenation of races and cultures; today there are over five different languages spoken there. Latinos to a certain extent inherited this dilemma, and Aceves attempts to use fiction weaved in reality to address the Latino, Chicano predicament of self-preservation and self-understanding. Aceves propounds a clear lyric message begin your journey for genuineness and self-understanding and let the road lead you where it may: "Se hace camino al andar." Roberto Cabello-Argandoña, Editor.
Mary Black receives a death bed request from her best friend, Diadema, to find a son that she gave up for adoption and let him know his mother "always loved him." Diadema is a fictionalized account of actual events, which came together in Paseo, a Texas border town. San Benito, across the U.S.-Mexico border, shares with Paseo centuries of history. Close by there is a set of small, strange volcanic rock mountains, an ancient archeological site that also reminds Paseños of a deeper, mystically past. Mary leaves the Midwest and finds her way to Paseo where she meets Carlos Alvarado who embodies the many historical contrasts of the city. Carlos is obsessed about his Mexican Native heritage, frustrated with what he considers the colonized reality of the present, and haunted by his past involvement with the American Indian Movement, he unwittingly leads Mary into labyrinth of mystery and intrigue. Their search intertwines with a theft of ancient skeletal remains from the local university museum, an L.A. medical examiner, and a Harvard anthropologist doing research at the sites. The mystery of Diadema's name and efforts to find her son blend into the mythology of the Virgen of Guadalupe to give an insightful look at the underground Indian traditions that still permeate Mexican American culture. "The spiritual path is a search for authenticity. From Mexican American, to Chicano and finally, Native American, the author of DIADEMA presents the steps one takes in traveling on this path that all of us must travel in our search for true meaning of who we are. Carlos Aceves paints a fascinating picture of a Southwest City (which we all know), a spiritual search for identity, the indigenous cultures of the area and a cast of characters who represent the people inhabiting this area." Pete T. Duarte, Former Professor at UTEP "A great story that brings to life the vibrant culture of a west Texas town." Mary Luckie, Educator.
"Es una encantadora historia que dice realidades profundas del ser humano en forma tierna y mágica." Argelia Flores, teacher.
Diadema truly reminded me of my childhood. In its, pages, I could almost hear my mother's voice once again speaking to me. It took me back to a very happy time of my life. María E. Saénz. Educator
Carlos Aceves, 57, is an elementary school teacher in Canutillo, Texas who integrates mesoamerican concepts to teach young children. In 1990 he began working with the concept of Xinachtli (sheen-ach-tlee), introduced into public education by Tupac Enrique of Tonatierra. He has a Master's in Educational Psychology and has presented at universities and education conferences throughout the United States. He is the author of the novel Diadema and articles in education journals and textbooks.