Floricanto Press     

LITERATURE


Arranged by Title

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Armor of Love and Hope. By Doris Mercado. by Yasmeen Namazie, Editor. ISBN 978-1494245993. $24.95.

This is a joint publication of Floricanto and Berkeley Presses. Doris Mercado’s memoir is one of perseverance and reconciliation, reminiscent of Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life and Ernesto Galarza’s Barrio Boy. Her story is partly one of family but also one of self-reliance, recounting her troubled childhood in Ponce, Puerto Rico and also poverty and homelessness in Massachusetts. What I most admired in the work was the author’s frankness, her ability to portray family truths so intimately and honestly. –John Paul Jaramillo, author of The House of Order Stories.

Kirkus Review: Mercado’s memoir chronicles how a middle child from a large family experiences love, forgiveness and hope despite a lifetime of abuse, neglect and abandonment in the mountains of Puerto Rico. The memoir opens with scenes of an idyllic childhood. Mercado lived in a small town outside Ponce, Puerto Rico, where her life included colorful characters in a bustling community. There were eight children at the beginning of Mercado’s story, all battling to use a single bathroom and hairbrush. Doris’ mother, Lina, worked as a seamstress. She was stern, but she encouraged 4-year-old Doris to read the newspaper.

Doris’ father was well-liked and played affectionately with the children in their chaotic but happy household. Within two years, two more boys were born into the Mercado family; both needed extensive medical attention. The strain took its toll, and finally, the family moved in with Doris’ beloved grandmother in the mountain town of Jayuya. After the move, Doris’ life deteriorated. Her mother beat her repeatedly with a broomstick, and Doris spent many days nursing badly bruised limbs. Life continued to fall apart for the Mercado clan, particularly when Doris’ paternal grandmother invited Lina and the youngest children to New York for a fresh start.

Doris and five of her siblings were left in the care of their father, although it was 14-year-old Doris who assumed chief responsibility. Within days of her mother’s departure, Doris’ father also walked out without explanation, leaving Doris and the others to fend for themselves. This living arrangement continued for another three years. Doris warned the children to keep their situation secret, so they wouldn’t alert the authorities. This profoundly sad story of neglect is told in simple, direct language. Doris’ capacity for forgiveness is astonishing, as is her single-minded focus on the love she feels for the brothers and sister left in her care. She eventually moved to the U.S., and her reunification with her parents was filled with more pain and abuse. Mercado’s reaching adulthood in one piece is remarkable; arriving with her soul intact is miraculous. A straightforward, moving story about resilience.

 


Aurora. Rafael Castillo. ISBN 978-1888205-30-5. $19.95.

Rafael Castillo's characters are a Chicano variation of Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks," sleepless souls lost in their own thoughts," Jacinto Jesus Cardona, author of Pan Dulce: Poems

These eleven tightly-packed short stories, often allegorical yet visceral, range from the phantasmagorical "Aurora", whose misdeed has condemned her to a cyclical river of Eternal Return, to the agnostic Tomas and faithful Pedro in the theological "Penitent of Guadalupe Street", where truth is an enigma wrapped in a metaphor. In another story, a bellicose dwarf is murdered and the story is told from shifting points of view. In "Dwarfs and Penitents," an angry jilted husband searches the cobblestone streets of Prague in search of vengeance, while in "The Sands of Dhahran," a middle-age soldier battles his demons during Operation Desert Storm. In these luminous stories, Castillo give us penitents, dwarfs, lost youth, WWII vets, pachucos, doppelgangers, and memorable others populating the American literary landscape.


 

Borrowing Time: A Latino Sexual Odyssey. Carlos T. Mock, M.D. ISBN 0-915745-54-2. $24.95.

“Whatever your orientation, no matter your ethnicity, you’ll never be the same after a journey through this odyssey. A vivid and visceral portrayal of a sexual and political coming-of-age in today’s America—and beyond.” Laura S. Washington, Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor, DePaul University; Columnist, Chicago Sun-Times.

“Gay literature is rich in so many areas, yet we still have a need for strong stories from the world of Latino culture—about family, about youth, about coming out, about creating adult relationships, about AIDS. Now, Carlos Mock give us a strong Puerto Rican story that deals with all these isues.” —Patricia Nell Warren, author of The Front Runner and The Wild Man.

 


 

Bring Me More Stories: Tales of the Sephardim. Sally Benforado. ISBN 0915745674. $22.95.

In these short tales, author Benforado weaves together the oral history of a family of Sephardic Jews, from their close knit home in Turkey to their new lives in America. They are stories of a heritage that spans the globe, of centuries-old traditions transported to a different world, and of people who held tightly to the ways of their ancestors, who, like them, left their homes to settle in a strange new land. Following their exodus from Spain in 1492, Sephardic Jews were not allowed to remain on Spanish territories in North America, such as New Mexico and Colorado.

 

 


 

 

Brotherhood of the Light: A novel of the Penitentes and Crypto-Jews of New Mexico. Ray Michael Baca. 0-915745-66-6 $24.95

A novel about the un-easy and often misunderstood relationships of Crypto-Jews and Hispanos in New Mexico and their deep common roots in Spanish history--conquest and colonization--and religious faith and shared values.

Brotherhood of the Light follows the lives of three men from one family who lived in different centuries but were inexorably bound by the legacy of a cross that was brought from the Old World to the New. A relic that had come to prominence at the battle for Granada, when Spain united to expel the Moors.  Descendants of Sephardic Jews who fled the Inquisition in Spain, the family joined Los Hermanos Penitentes. This secretive society of lay Catholic men in Northern New Mexico, who believe in emulating Christ’s Passion, his trial, his walk, and his suffering on the cross at the end of each Lenten season, was used for a dozen generations as a shield by the family to disguise their Crypto-Jewish identity while they struggled with the legacy bestowed upon them.

 John Castillo lives in this century, and is in search of the cross which had become lost two-hundred years before. Spiritually, he is devoid of a true set of beliefs, as he is one who knows of the family’s past through inherited secret oral history. He is conflicted with who he is. Is he Catholic, or is he Jewish? Is he something because he was born into it, or is he something because he believes?  The others in John’s long family history include Ramón Bernal de Castilla, a Sephardic Jew who leaves Spain in the 1590’s as a reluctant Conquistador, joins Juan de Oñate’s troops to settle Nuevo Mexico, and is the first keeper of the cross that originated in the forges of Castile. And, Andrés Castillo, a boy of thirteen in the early 1800’s taken as a slave by Navajo raiders. Having hidden the cross in a desperate attempt to save it, he returns decades later to the hiding place with his son and grandsons as a tribute to the spiritual wealth it has brought to them all.

 Moving seamlessly between the past and present, weaving together the intricacies of religious fundamentalism, unwavering faith, and a true passion for knowing one's past, Ray Michael Baca takes us on a journey into the stark, beautiful desert, and the romantic valley of the Rio Grande, where Spanish dreams and Native souls have clashed and then lived as neighbors for 400 years.  The text of this gripping story is written in English, Spanish and Ladino. LECTOR

 

 Ray Michael Baca was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1959, and grew up in the small town of Bernalillo. He attended Navajo Community College in Tsaile, Arizona, and since 1981 has made his career in the business sector. On leaving New Mexico in 1988, he contended “I have been trying to make my way back home ever since.”

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

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Bruno Estañol: The Collected Fiction. Bruno Estañol. Translation from the Spanish and preface by Eduardo Jiménez. ISBN 978-0-915745-84-5. $25.95.

The narratives collected in this volume are mainly set in the State of Tabasco, during the turbulent time period running from the Mexican Revolution to the late 1950’s. In one sense we’re dealing with a dreamy, genteel, picturesque — though somewhat atavistic — world, in which the paddlewheel steamboat remains the preferred means of long-distance transportation, in which the townswomen wear ruffled organdy or tulle dresses while daintily promenading, parasols in hand, around the town square; where couples, young and old, dance on Sunday afternoons to the elegant melodies of pasodobles, danzones, tangos or boleros; and where the finest merchandise, ranging from the mundane to the exotic, arrives daily to the various commercial ports along the Tabascan coast, having been shipped there from the metropolises of New Orleans and Havana.

 

 


 

 

 

Carnival King: The Last Latin Monarch. Brent Alan James, Jr. ISBN: 978-0-915745-78-4. $22.95.

"In April of 1993, Brazilian voters were given a choice between continuing with a president, adopting a prime minister and parliament, or bringing back its long dormant monarchy. Carnival King is the story of what might have happened had they opted for the latter. Outlawing the G-string bikini on Rio de Janeiro’s beaches! Auctioning the country’s name to the highest bidder! A police escort for thousands of shantytown dwellers as they descend upon downtown Rio to call for freedom! These are just a few changes one can expect when a nation bending under the strain of democracy decides to give monarchy another try. As Brazil prepares to receive its new king--the fourth in its history, but the first in one hundred years--it seems lawmakers have accounted for every eventuality, except for one tiny detail: identifying the legitimate Brazilian heir to the throne, when the Supreme Court suddenly disqualifies the Portuguese descendant.


 

 

 

A Century of Pachangas. By Betty Serra. ISBN: 978-1491259207 $19.95

This is a publication of Floricanto Press. A Century of Pachangas (parties) is a deluxe package of celebrations, featuring ribbon- cutting family drama. The helium balloons in this pachanga are a series of inflated scandals due to infidelity, lunatic rage and psychological imbalances. Like all families, there is loss and tragedy, but resilience triumphs over their fixations and shortcomings. This family memoir focuses on the author’s maternal side of the family, starting with Rosa Balladares, born in 1884 in Managua, Nicaragua. Orphaned at the age of two, Rosa grew up quickly and left her uncle’s unhappy home within a decade. Relatively a young teen, she achieved total independence and later transformed herself into a woman that ruled her household with absoluteness, dispensing proclamations as if a medieval dungeon awaited anyone who failed to follow her majestic orders. Unlike most women of her era, she was skilled in the art of fist-fighting, shooting pistols and swordplay. And although she couldn’t read or write, she was brilliant in that she ran a house, a business and scoundrels out of town. The first half of the memoir (beginning in 1884) introduces the core of the Balladares Family, which consists of Rosa, the wandering husband she threatened to shoot and five daughters who survived into adulthood. The women turned out inflexible, controlling and overbearing, just like their mother. They had the audacity to want to set the world straight in the midst of their own family chaos and meltdowns. The few men who came to know or love them were forcibly exiled, and the grandchildren were indisputably named Balladares. It wasn’t until the next generation, particularly those born in the U.S.A. when the Balladares surname lost its elasticity to band everyone and the newborns were named after their fathers. The second half of the memoir (beginning in 1952) highlights the immigration of a few Balladares women into the States and their wacky adventures. The author, a Balladares descendent, reminisces over her childhood memories, the merging of two colorful cultures and the meddling of Latin American relatives dropping in and out, causing insurmountable disturbances. Each of the Balladares women reappears, sporadically throughout the memoir. They’re all much older, but not necessarily wiser. Oftentimes, it’s their children or grandchildren who complete the lesson for them. Still, it’s mind-blowing how their fiery spirit enabled them to reach another country, cross into a new century and stamp the Balladares imprint of tenacity onto subsequent generations.

 

 


 

 

Chalino: A Chronicle Play of Fulgor and Death=Una Crónica Teatral de Fulgor y Muerte. By Julián Camacho Segura. ISBN 978-1481022002. $22.95.

With “Chalino,” Julian Camacho writes about a raw, unflinching Mexican icon with an unapologetic honesty only he can provide. He excels at bringing this story to larger than life tale because he possesses one of the most experienced voices among his contemporaries.” Oscar Barajas, Author, “True Tales from the Wireless Clothesline.” Rosalino “Chalino” Sánchez was a Mexican immigrant from the Mexican state of Sinaloa who came to the US in search of opportunity. In his pursuit of perseverance his gift and talent for writing corridos for the common working class man initiated a world wind phenomena that appealed to Mexican-American youth in Los Angeles, California. Chalino’s corridos provided a cultural medium in which Chicanos identified with their own roots.

 

 


 

 

 

Chat Room & other Latino Plays. Leo Cabranes-Grant. ISBN: 978-0-9796457-5-4. $22.95.

"It gives me great pleasure to introduce Floricanto's New Series: Latino GLBT works. In this edition, we have "The Chat Room and Other Latino Plays" which explores the complexities of Latino gay life through characters and events that challenge our expectations in both funny and disturbing ways. Several closeted men meet in a public space to flirt with each other, but end up discussing the joys and pains of fatherhood. A bisexual man surprises his gay partner with an unusual birthday gift: a Puerto Rican. A Latino-Rican decides to pursue a chat room date with a mysterious man that slowly takes over his apartment and even brings a woman in. All three plays are an invitation to revise our values and to experiment with new identities. " Carlos T Mock, MD


 

 

 

Clásicos de la Literatura Hispanoamericana Colonial en su Contexto Sociohistórico. Dr. Clary Loisel. ISBN: 978-0-915745-97-5. $24.95.

A clear and concise review of the most important Latin American Colonial writers whose work departed from Peninsular literary canons. Esta monografía va dirigida a los lectores que ya tienen un conocimiento básico de la literatura hispanoamericana colonial pero que quieren un análisis más profundo de algunas obras principales del canon. Este libro sobre la literatura colonial constituye un esfuerzo por reunir el testimonio de nueve escritores de los siglos XVI y XVII que han expresado algunas experiencias y vicisitudes principales de varios pueblos de Hispanoamérica para acercarse a su identidad nacional y artística. Seleccioné a estas figuras por sus contribuciones únicas a las letras hispanas. El tema central de este libro es la transformación y la "nativización" de los modelos peninsulares por los escritores del Nuevo Mundo. Es mi esperanza que, volviendo a estudiar a estos autores y obras, podamos comenzar a comprender mejor una pequeña parte de la enorme producción literaria de los dos siglos después de la llegada de Cristóbal Colón en 1492.

Divido el libro en dos partes principales: "El Siglo XVI: Literatura de la Conquista" y "El Siglo XVII: El Barroco, Arte Hispánico". Al principio de cada parte hay una introducción sobre el marco histórico-social así como de las corrientes estéticas de cada época. Cada uno de los nueve capítulos se dedica a las biografías y al análisis de la obra de losautores seleccionados: Hernán Cortés, Bernal Díaz del Castillo, Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga, El Inca Garcilazo de la Vega, Bernardo de Balbuena, Juan Ruiz de Alarcón, Juan del Valle Caviedes, Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora y Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Dr. Clary Loisel

 


 

 

Clay Hills and Mud Pies. By Annie Mary Pérez. ISBN 978-1481184809. $14.95.

Skeletons abound in this revealing but poignant biography recounting a Mexican American family’s one hundred year history in the United States. Three Memoirs in one, this San Diego Book Awards Finalist is rich with Mexican folklore and Americana. In Book One, which opens with a ghost story, the author describes her father’s life growing up motherless in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It includes early memories of sleeping in abandoned houses, working for his aunt, who was a bootlegger, riding the rails as a youth, serving in World War II, and finally, marrying her mother in February of 1946. In Book Two she describes her mother’s life growing up on a dairy farm in Mesilla, New Mexico during the Depression. It includes early memories of picking cotton as a child and the first of a series of prophetic dreams. It also includes stories of her grandmother’s encounter with the Twelve Apostles and her grandfather’s finding buried treasure. In Book Three, she describes her own life growing up in a Los Angeles barrio, early memories of domestic violence, her parents’ divorce, caring for her parents in their declining years, and ultimately, dealing with the loss. The book concludes with her father’s philosophies on youth and life. “Young people especially will benefit from this pleasant read. They will feel inspired to set their own goals.” Ambassador Julián Nava.

 

 

 


 

Competing Truths in Contemporary Latin American Literature: Narrating Otherness, Marginality, and the Politics of Representation. By Sandro R. Barros. ISBN 978-1-888205-32-9. $26.95.

The overwhelming success of the filmic adaptations of Before Night Falls by Cuban exile Reinaldo Arenas, The Virgin of the Assassins by Colombian writer Fernando Vallejo, and City of God by Brazilian author Paulo Lins attracted audiences worldwide to rediscover and rethink the content of these works as enigmatic messages of disillusionment and abjection regarding the Latin American realities they promote. The original texts' representation of sicarios, favelados, and homosexual dissidents undermines the conceptualization of the Latin American continental identity as "Other" in relation to dominant Eurocentric and North American perspectives. Competing Truths delves into the question of to what extent the fictional and autobiographical truths purported by the aforementioned bestsellers engage in the process of fixating conventional paradigms of "Third World" identity, such as poverty, violence and exclusion, as images of consumption for world audiences.

Furthermore, Competing Truths examines what constitutes truth and reality from a perspective that assesses Latin American history and culture in a contest for the very meaning of the postmodern truth. Competing Truths presents a critical reflection of three of the most compelling and successful novels emerging from the Latin American literary scene at the end of the 20th century, questioning the politics behind their historical, racial, and gendered representations. Competing Truths explores the Latin American identity within a literary fictional framework and realistic social paradigms, a dichotomy that challenges the reality of identity of the social types. Lector, The Hispanic Book Review Journal.


 

 

 

The Cult of Jaguar. By Bonnie Hayman. ISBN 0915745585. $25.95.

Centuries ago, in the darkest jungles of Mexico, a young Mayan boy named Xichantl witnessed his father and most of his tribe follow the hallowed jaguar into the Graylands, never to be seen again. Now, a divorced mother and her two daughters from the United States go to Mexico for a summer vacation and stumble upon an ancient box that transforms their lives and could change the world. Set in the sultry and mysterious jungles of Mexico, with a backdrop of Mayan calendar, pyramids, Maya prophecies(calendario Maya, pirámides y profecías), the story revolves around several interesting characters who are after the same thing-each for a different reason. What happened to the ancient native civilizations of Mexico and Central America, which disappeared without a trace? The Mayan and Aztec cultures left important archaeological sites in Middle America before their civilizations vanished from this earth. While various theories attempt to explain these phenomena, nothing definitive has been proven, yet. Hayman's The Cult of the Jaguar, deals with this fascinating mystery and offers an intriguing and plausible answer to the question, "What really happened to the Aztecs and the Mayans, and the Cult of the Jaguar?"

 

 


 

 

Day of the Dead/ Día de los Muertos. By Manuel Luis Martínez. ISBN 978-1-888205-19-0. $25.95.

This is the most riveting and complex narrative of the Mexican Revolution. "I am Berto Morales. I am the false son of a nameless and blind man. I am War. I took his land through a pretense. I am Pestilence. When his heir returned to claim his birthright, I killed him. I am Murder. His comrades returned to find me, and failing to do so, took the life of my wife and child. I was Love. I determined to meet injustice with injustice. I am Hatred. I brought war to those who ended my life. I am Executioner. I am guilty of sins that have no name. I have come to the slaughter uninvited and have determined to give my life freely." And so begins the saga of Berto Morales set during the Mexican Revolution, the landscape of Day of the Dead is littered with the victims of a brutal war, one populated by a cast of villains, saints, heroes, and ordinary people whose roles are often impossible to reconcile. It is 1913 when Berto returns to his small Oaxacan ranch to find that his beloved wife, six months with child, has been brutally murdered. Devastated, he sets out to find the murderers and exact revenge, but what he will find on this journey is that justice is elusive, much more so than vengeance.


 

 

 

Desire I Remember, but love no. By Sergio Téllez-Pon. Translated by Don Cellini. ISBN 978-1484082409. $11.95.

What happens when a young poet in Mexico City writes about his coming out experiences? In No recuerdo el amor sino el deseo / Desire I remember but love, no the author shares these first steps: new romances, one-night-stands, unreturned phone calls, erotic adventures and disillusionments. What we discover is that these experiences are not unique to one individual, but belong to all of us. This is a book that crosses many boundaries, both geographical and emotional. Poetry of language and imagination, especially its intimate and earthy episodes, and an open heart (but in slant verse), this book welcomes – as if several shades were refracted and condensed into a quick, minimalist mosaic – a multitude of tones, voices, and passionate interests that acknowledge each other. In this way it manages happily to offer both poetry for poetry’s sake as well as poetry for the sake of the poet: thoroughly youthful, concrete, and in living color. – José Joaquín Blanco Sergio Téllez-Pon is one of Mexico’s leading poets of queer identity, but his work until now has been almost unknown in the United States. With Don Cellini’s lucid translation of No recuerdo el amor sino el deseo, Téllez-Pon’s sultry and lyrical poetry comes alive for an English-speaking readership. This book of first loves and first heartbreaks speaks with a lonesome voice of fire and ash, each poem is a feverish spear, a cup brimming with sensuality, with sorrow and the everyday joys that keep “hope beating strong.” I find that each poem discloses something—about myself, about the world, about life—that I didn’t know I needed to learn. I hope that other readers will join me in reveling in these soulful and celebratory and heart-breaking verses. —Lauro Vázquez, Letras Latinas

Don Cellini is a poet, translator and photographer. A book of poems Candidates for Sainthood and Other Sinners / Aprendices de santo y otros pecadores, in collaboration with Fer de la Cruz, is forthcoming from Mayapple Press. He is a recipient of fellowships from the King Juan Carlos Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Cellini is professor emeritus at Adrian College in Michigan.

 

 


 

 

 

The Delirium of Simon Bolivar. El delirio de Simón Bolívar. By Tina Datsko de Sánchez, Edited by Roberto Cabello-Argandoña, Translated with commentary by José Sánchez-H., Prologue by Edward James Olmos. ISBN 978-1888205343. $25.95.

This is a joint Spanish/English bilingual publication of Floricanto Press and Berkeley Presses. INTERNATIONAL PRAISE FOR THE DELIRIUM OF SIMON BOLIVAR “Beautifully exploring the theme that ‘only those who see the invisible can do the impossible,’ this exciting, lucid, and often heartbreaking collection of poems tracks the life and consciousness of the great Liberator Simon Bolivar. There are poems that tell us how he was loved, what freedom means in today’s Latin America, how he felt as he contemplated death and exile, and much, much more. Looking at this towering figure from countless separate angles and through countless lenses, we begin to understand the man who sought ‘to challenge/ like Don Quixote/ what all believe they see.’ A must read.” —José Rivera Academy Award® nominee for Best Adapted Screenplay (The Motorcycle Diaries)

“An important topic, never before so deeply explored in poetry.” —Jorge Ruiz Bolivian pioneer filmmaker and winner of the Smithsonian’s James Smithson Bicentennial Medal (Come Back, Sebastiana)

“Tina Datsko de Sánchez’s book, The Delirium of Simón Bolívar, seems to me an important work. Her desire to make known in the USA an historical figure so extraordinary, courageous and lucid is an admirable goal. It reveals the degree of Tina’s spirituality, which moves her to bring back a lost but necessary memory and share with her compatriots the presence of a human being of absolute greatness as was Simón Bolívar. Her verses struck me as very beautiful, with a notable capacity of synthesis, and holders of the undeniable emotion of doing something for all.” —Jorge Sanjines Cannes Film Festival Winner of the Great Young Directors Award (That’s the Way It Is)

The Delirium of Simón Bolívar brings to life, through inspired poetry, a life that should be known by all.” —Ligiah Villalobos Writer/Producer and winner of the Estela Award (Under the Same Moon)

“Every verse is music, philosophy, pure magic. Different compositions, at times, refer to the history of a true hero, the nostalgia for a “mythic time” where everything seems to have paused forever. The author also refers at times to things that can seem simple, but with the punctuality of the cruel reality of a fierce suffering, as if making it normal and part of daily life. All of that carries the reader to another dimension; her poetry in this sense might be called almost “magic.” Poems that travel across time and space, among the infinite dimensions of the universe. The metaphors that are included in the volume are also of an artistic depth without equal. The author is an architect of poetry that is sincere, authentic, and spontaneous. One might say it is poetry inspired by the instinct of the heart.” —Valentina Casagrande ARCI – FILMSTUDIO ’90 de Varese

 

 


 

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Diadema. By Carlos Aceves. 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.

 


 

 

Dictatorship: The Imposition of U.S. Culture on Latin America Through Translation. Peter A. Neissa. ISBN: 978-1-888205-10-7. $24.95.

This book focuses on how a dictator or a culturally dominant power can use language to impose cultural values. As an instrument of power, language is used by a dictator to educate, induce, or manipulate a nation's citizens into acting in accordance with the ruling power's cultural values and beliefs. Jorge Zalamea's El Gran Burundún-Burundá ha muerto, Gabriel García Márquez's El otoño del patriarca, and Mario Vargas Llosa's La fiesta del Chivo draw attention to how the use of the vernacular can resist cultural imposition by employing specific words in order to represent its own culture and nature of reality. The original significance of these words is then altered in the translated text creating a new meaning determined by the dictator's or translator's ideology and usage. The new words that have substituted the original ones reveal how the construction of language defines relationships of power and resistance between a dictator and his nation, or between one culture and another, such as the relations of the United States over Latin America. The analysis of this relationship will provide an understanding of how language functions as an instrument for the imposition of power to gain or maintain cultural or political supremacy.

 


 

 

Dónde más si no en el Paraíso. Vicente Cabrera Funes. ISBN: 978-1-888205-11-4. $23.95.

Vicente Cabrera Funes´s latest work of fiction, Dónde más si no en el Paraíso, consists of two novellas, Dalia and Suana en el Paraíso. A major theme of the two is the clash of cultures, expertly portrayed by the author who himself was born in Latin America and has resided in the United States (el Paraíso) for many years. Cabrera's novellas will challenge his readers to discover the underlying irony and tragedy his characters encounter as they struggle to survive in a racially divided, violent and unjust "paradise." George R. McMurray Professor Emeritus Colorado State University

 


 

 

The Druglord. By Peter A. Neissa. ISBN 091574526. $22.95.

It is the true life story of Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha, the drug lord of the Bogota branch of the Colombian Drug Cartel, this historical novel offers a factual and knowledgeable Colombian perspective that well connected Colombians have known for years: the real Drug Cartel, a group consisting of over two-hundred drug traffickers, met for the first time in 1976, not to discuss drugs, but to devise a solution to the kidnapping and murders inflicted upon them by the Marxist guerrillas. This led to cooperation on other matters --like cocaine. The Drug Lord, born an outcast in 1952, during Colombia's bloody civil war, rose from poverty to multi-billionaire status in the violent world of cocaine traffic. It is the gripping story of the Drug Lord's history when at age six, he witnesses the massacre of his family by the Colombian Army. It shows his involvement with the adolescent city gang, El Centro, which controlled Colombia's lucrative emerald black market, to the Cartel's development from a national to international status.

 


 

 

Encounter Between Cuentos and Versos. By Irene Pérez. ISBN: 978-1494379919 $14.95

This is a publication of Floricanto Press. "Encounter between cuentos and versos" is a gem to treasure as stories told in poetic forms for readers of all ages—from young adults to the more experienced and seasoned booklover. These poems show us a childhood lived in Puerto Rico, and they uncover a heart awakening to meet the complexity of a new life in the U.S. mainland. The many contrasts found here serve as portals into a private self facing fear and courage—“If you dare startle what’s inside the wall…”—and into the public self looking outwards with compassion—“But one day/Beyond the noise of all histories . . .” The Spanish dispersed throughout this collection adds a necessary pulse to the poet’s love and care for the beat and rhythm of language. But at its core, this work stands strong with meaning, encountering beauty, through lyricism, in the past and in the attention to the now.

In these sensual, intensely given, sometimes fantastical poems and prose pieces, we are given scenes of conception, birth and childhood, of a family uprooted from Puerto Rico to Brooklyn, landing in Jersey City and beyond. In Perez’s world, everything is made to count, the body passage into white dresses, “life fires and hurricanes”, “long hallways marked by doors”, the astrological influence of the planets in our whirling heavens. Her’s is an original, colorful and complex voice, and her poems do honor to our memories. —Colette Inez, author of The Luba Poems.

Cultures collide in this riveting work, but Irene Perez navigates us to safety with her glittering verse. While the world she paints is agridulce, she never forgets to sweeten all that is sour. Get ready to be transported. —Stephanie Elizondo Griest, author of Mexican Enough: My Life Between the Borderlines.

In and out, up and down, here and there, then and now, body and spirit, hard and soft, black, white, and colors in between, wind and silence, water and sand, asleep and awake...take turns, join and separate in these poems and prose work to create a tapestry of feelings shared through lyricism and passion for language. —Nora de Hoyos Comstock, Count of Me: Tales of Sisterhoods and Fierce Friendships /Cuenta Conmigo: Historias Conmovedoras de Hermandad y Amistades Incondicionales.

Irene Pérez Irene’s short stories and poems have appeared in Kalyani Magazine, South Florida Arts Journal, Northern Liberties Light, New Mirage Journal, Acentos Review, Ardent, Mangrove, Gulfstreaming Magazine, Long Shot, The Américas Review, The Bilingual Review. She has written non-fiction pieces for Somos Padres: A Newsletter for Parents and Educators, LatinGirl Magazine and Críticas. She is currently working on her first novel.

 


 

 

Esperanza: A Latina story. Sandra C. López. ISBN: 978-0-9796457-8-5. $24.95.

Fourteen-year old Esperanza Ignacio could only think of a few words to sum up her life: crap, man, crap! She was born into a poor Latino family living in a small crummy apartment in the barrio side of town, where the graffiti chiseled more the souls and character of the residents than it impacted the exterior looks of the buildings or anything else. Her father was a drunkard, gambler, and wife-beater who, one cold night, got arrested after a violent intrusion. Her entire circle of relatives consisted of nothing but formers—former drug-addicts, former gangsters and gang-bangers, former alcoholics, former everything. Yep, her life was nothing but a huge load of crap. And she hadn’t even started high school yet. After surviving a scorching summer heat, Esperanza enters the unfamiliar world of high-school with a tight knot in her stomach. On the very first day, she is sucked into a blunder of catastrophic events beginning with accidentally running into the world’s BIGGEST bully. And it definitely wasn’t an understatement either. Now, she has made herself the prime target for a main course. And, to top it all off, she has to see this girl everyday in P.E.! P.E.—the one class Esperanza truly despises the most. Could life be any worse for her?

 

 

 

 

 

Euler's Conjecture=La Conjetura de Euler. ByBruno Estañol. Translated by Dr. Eduardo Jiménez Mayo.ISBN: 978-1480093898 $24.95

This is a publication of Floricanto Press. In the spring of 2009, New York University's journal of creative writing, Washington Square Review, published a selection from Euler's Conjecture to much critical acclaim, featuring it at the issue's launching party. This novel constitutes an apocryphal diary of the French Enlightenment philosopher Denis Diderot, tracing his reflections from the time of his imprisonment at Vincennes to his legendary confrontation with the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler at the court of Catherine the Great. Devotees of historical fiction will not find satisfaction in these pages. Instead, a furiously strange mind, prone to fits of merciless humor and anachronistic embellishments, has constructed a delightful maze for his readers around the problem of humanity's simultaneous fear of and attraction toward the problem of the infinite. Human beings may be blind when it comes to life's ultimate questions, yet Bruno Estañol hints that the greatest legacy of the Enlightenment resides in how its most ingenious figures managed to accustom their eyes to the dark.


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Everything We Think We Hear. By José Ángel Araguz. Leyla Namazie, Editor. ISBN 978-1518644917. $9.95.

 

pictureThis is a joint publication of Floricanto and Berkeley Presses.

Everything We Think We Hear is a collection of prose poems and flash fictions in the tradition of the Latin American microcuento. At turns fabulistic and true to life, these short pieces tell stories about growing up in and out of South Texas and about the role family mythology has in relating to the world. Through experiences articulated via poetic prose, this collection presents Latin@ storytelling as a way to understand the universal through the personal. 

What is the meaning beyond memory’s hauntings? How does one survive the multi-faceted self fashioned from such meanings? Poet José Ángel Araguz’ unflinching collection, Everything We Think We Hear, considers these questions from all angles and gives us answers as adamantine and brilliant as the prose poems he has fashioned in his questing. 

Sarah Cortéz, Councilor, Texas Institute of Letters, Author of Cold Blue Steel. 


 

 

 

Far from my Mother’s Home. By Bárbara Mujica. E.L. Doctorow-award-winning stories of cross-cultural perspectives. ISBN: 978-0915745-28-9       $23.95

La Mujer Latina Series

This is an award-winning anthology of short stories by the author of the novel The Deaths of Don Bernardo (Floricanto Press, 1989). Mario Bencastro, from The Washington Review says that "Bárbara Mujica narrates with singular mastery and luxury of detail, creating characters that are both remarkable and familiar... [She] has succeeded in transcending the narrative itself in order to convey emotions and exalt human values."

Far from My Mother's Home is Bárbara Mujica’s collection of stories written during the decade prior to the publication of  The Deaths of Don Bernado. Therefore, they offer the reader a glimpse of the development of certain aesthetic and conceptual elements that bore fruit in the novel. For example, in these stories we see a growing concern for the ways that different ethnic groups interact. Like the novel, many of these stories are constructed upon a multicultural perspectivism in which persons from different ethnic and social groups—Hispanics, Americans; whites, Indians; landowners, peasants—react to a single circumstance in diverse ways because of their particular cultural outlooks. Furthermore, in both her novel and her stories, Bárbara Mujica uses humor to emphasize the absurdity of the dilemmas that result from our intransigence in ethnic (and other) matters.


“‘Gotlib, Bombero,’ a stunningly successful story by Barbara Mujica, recounts the efforts of Emesto Gotlib, a Chilean-born Jew, to be accepted by his Latin American peers . . . It is a tribute to Mujica’s talent as a storyteller and a writer that the reader fully shares in Gotlib’s anguish.”
Abigail Davis, “The Bloomsbury Review”

“Bárbara Mujica narrates with a singular mastery and luxury of detail, creating characters that are both remarkable and familiar... [She] has succeeded in transcending the narrative itself in order to convey profound emotions and to exalt human values.”
Mario Bencastro, “The Washington Review”

“Bárbara Mujica has a natural narrative talent. She narrates from the gut, from the inside, with a curious eye and great dramatic power, stories of worlds that collide and disconnect.”
Jorge Edwards, Author of “Persona Non Grata”

 

 


 

 

Feminine Transgression=Transgresión Femenina. By Patricia Rosas Lopátegui. ISBN 978-1-888205-27-5. $27.95.

This is a seminal literary critical study of the most prominent Mexican women writers, including Antonieta Rivas Mercado, Nellie Campobello, Guadalupe Dueñas, Josefina Vicens, Elena Garro, Guadalupe Amor, Rosario Castellanos, María Luisa Mendoza, Amparo Dávila, Inés Arredondo, Luisa Josefina Hernández, Elena Poniatowska, Beatriz Espejo, Helena Paz Garro and Silvia Molina; they are symbols of literary achievement, irreverence, and struggle in Mexico, transcending borders with their works and literary influence. Desde Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz las mujeres creadoras en México han sorteado toda clase de malabarismos para poder producir su obra. En esta antología se estudian quince escritoras mexicanas nacidas entre 1900-1946; autoras que, a contracorriente, han enfrentado y desafiado al statu quo creando una literatura femenina de primer orden. Antonieta Rivas Mercado, Nellie Campobello, Guadalupe Dueñas, Josefina Vicens, Elena Garro, Guadalupe Amor, Rosario Castellanos, María Luisa Mendoza, Amparo Dávila, Inés Arredondo, Luisa Josefina Hernández, Elena Poniatowska, Beatriz Espejo, Helena Paz Garro y Silvia Molina son iconos de la creatividad, irreverencia y lucha en México, trascendiendo fronteras gracias a sus aportaciones literarias.

 


 

Galician Memories. By Daniel Otero. ISBN ISBN-13: 978-1530915644 . $ 18.95. 6" x 9"   Latino Nonfiction Book/ Biographies

picture This book is published by Floricanto Press. Simon Baixa was born in the town of O Grove, Galicia, Spain and was literally born with a mark on his back, a target of society’s injustices. a victim of circumstances when his parents are taken away by the Franco regime and were made to disappear for their political beliefs; this three-year-old orphan is, then adopted by his Uncle Antonio, a member of the local Amo do fuma (a version of Galicia’s Mafia).
Simon grows up to become a smuggler within this family of bootleggers whom try to survive against poverty. As Antonio’s liquor routes begin to prosper, the local Amo do fuma Chief, Esteban Concepcao begins to take notice. Esteban wants these routes for himself and when Antonio rejects his proposal, this mob boss will send his enforcer, Guillo. When one attempt of a shakedown against Simon fails, the Baixa family will become a target of Esteban’s ruthless ambitions. Jonathan, Antonio’s son takes a beating from Guillo that nearly cost him his life. Here’s where Simon does the unimaginable, a ‘hit’ on the mob boss and his enforcer.
Simon has to run and leave Galicia for good! Without any other alternatives, he escapes to France and foolishly joins the French Foreign Legion under a falsified alias. Is Simon’s service to France redemption or will it sink him further into hell’s depravity? Violence will be a part of Simon’s life, from the back roads of Galicia to the battlefields of the Balkans.



Daniel Otero, intends to bring light on the dark side of Galician life. On an existing problem that has dampened this beautiful most northwestern region and mysterious place of Spain. Few authors have focused internationally in the past on the issues of Galicia and its secret society, the Amo do fuma (Galicia’s version of the Mafia). With proud traditions and Celtic ancestry, Galicia has today evolved into greatness against poverty and overwhelming odds. It further focuses on survival a mist crisis and how a boy has to be taken brutally and yanked from his childhood to become a man! The author skillfully meshes history, Galicia’s social problems, a gangsters’ way of life and militarism. Without any apologies, Daniel wants to give Galicia its overdue honors. By saying, “It’s our time!”

 

 


 

 

Habanera: A Portrait of a Cuban Family. By Teresa Dovalpage. ISBN 978-1-888205-37-4. $24.95.

Habanera is a wonderfully lively and entertaining journey, alternately humorous and wistful. By the end, you will feel as if you have traveled to one of the most exotic islands on earth, during its most surrealistic historical moment. Dovalpage is a master of quirky, loveable characters, and emotionally resonant narrative. Habanera bursts with the energetic curiosity and hopefulness of youth. Margarita Engle, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Surrender Tree.

La Habanera is an irresistible, even wickedly addictive ride into dysfunction within dysfunction. Rick in wit and irony provided by Longina, a savvy young narrator coming of age in an eccentric family living in post-revolutionary Cuba, this novel delivers what Dovalpage does best: laugh-out-loud humor and deeply felt, deeply moving drama-all of it sharply spiced with bad and bawdy sandunga! Lorraine López, author of The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters, winner of the Miguel Mármol Prize for Fiction and a finalist for the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award.

 


 


 

 

 

Heaven is Hard to Swallow =Paraísos duros de roer. Rafael Pérez Gay. Translated in to English by Dr. Eduardo Jiménez Mayo. ISBN: 978-1-888205-29-9. $22.95.

A forlorn psychoanalyst; a cultural historian exploring the possibility of life after death; a middle-aged couple that schedules a rendezvous with a younger version of itself; a man who compensates for his phobia of death and dying with intense sadomasochistic practices; a writer who futilely explores the sexual habits and customs of Mexico City: These five short stories comprise the body of Heaven is Hard to Swallow (Paraísos duros de roer), the latest masterpiece of the phenomenal Mexican publisher, journalist and fiction writer, Rafael Pérez Gay.


 

 

The House in the Clouds. Gloria Durán. Edited by José Hernández and Yasmeen Namazie. ISBN 978-1888205435. $24.95.

THE HOUSE IN THE CLOUDS (Mixtlicalli in Nahuatl) is a cocktail of adventure, romance, mystery, humor, ghost story and family saga . . . The heroine and narrator is Simone Sandoval, thirty-two, witty, brave and a successful Florida businesswoman , but unlucky in love. Her problem, she thinks, is the shape of her nose.

Simone travels to Mexico to have it repaired at a famous sanitarium and carries with her, as a model, the portrait of her beautiful great-grandmother, Simone Dupont, rumored to have been a sorceress. But her official reason for the trip is to locate the old family hacienda, Mixtlicalli, partially destroyed during the Mexican Revolution. At the sanitarium Simone meets an ancient daughter of her ancestor and learns that Simone Dupont was not abducted by General Zapata as the family has maintained, but went off with him willingly. The manager of the sanitarium, Federico, with whom she falls in love, turns out to be the woman’s other great grandchild.

Another discovery is that Mixtlicalli, now reconstructed, serves as a New Age retreat specializing in rejuvenation. It is run by her own great-grandfather, Luis Sandoval, now 109 years old and kept young by his Indian lover, a witch doctor. Luis, who attempts to rape his great-granddaughter, insists that she is his dead wife to escape from the memory that he has murdered her. But Simone Dupont survives as the ghost of Mixtlicalli.

“There is so much here to love. Gloria is a talented writer. . . I adore her droll sensibility as well as her skilled combination of fairy tale, chick-lit and magical realism ( did I leave anything out”?) Sulay Hernández, Touchstone publishers (Simon and Schuster).

“I was genuinely engaged with (her) clear writing style, (her) rambunctious heroine and the intriguing historical mystery.” Sherwin Nuland, surgeon, author of How we Die, The Wisdom of the Body, The Art of Aging, Lost in America, etc.

Gloria Durán’s three earlier novels have received wide acclaim. Malinche, Slave Princess of Cortez, won first prize in 1996 from the National League of American Pen Women. Maria de Estrada, Gypsy Conquistadora, published in both English and Spanish won another first prize given by the Latino Book Summit in 2000 -- which honored her with a Latino Literary Hall of Fame award. Her “Catalina, mi padre,” published by Planeta in Mexico has received enthusiastsic reviews and will be republished shortly in English by Floricanto Press. She has won numerous prizes for short stories and has published two books of literary criticism and over twenty articles in literary journals. Durán has also received many other awards and honors. In l987 she was made an honorary Puerto Rican in order to deliver a paper at the plenary session of the International Pen Congress in San Juan. Her work has been published in Spain, Holland, and Great Britain as well as in Mexico and the U.S.

 


 

 

Infinitas. Carlos T. Mock. ISBN: 978-1-888205-38-1. $19.95.

As a Puerto Rican living in the US, I no longer fit into my homeland. Every time I travel there, I'm considered un Americano. I'm always addressed in the English language. What's worse, my Puerto Rican friends who live on the Island don't seem to care about me anymore. I guess we've gone our separate ways-I've become too public with my homosexuality, while they endure best by living within the closet. On this side of the pond, in the United States, there are Puerto Ricans who have never been to Puerto Rico. They don't speak Spanish, they don't know our history or culture-yet, they declare themselves Puerto Rican. To them, I am less Puerto Rican than they because, in their eyes I didn't experience the same discrimination from the white culture while growing up as they did. So, where do I fit- what am I? I owe the answer to that question to my sister, Mayu-to whom I dedicate this book. As I cared for her and saw her cruel death arrive, unable to prevent it, I finally learned who I am. I am me, a special individual that is the sum total of all my experiences until now; no labels are needed to adequately describe me. Just like my sister-may she rest in peace-I will also turn into ashes when I die.

 


     

     

    Island of Dreams. By Jasminne Méndez. ISBN 978-1493580880. $13.95.

    “My family has been forced to live like an island with no political party, president, or official language. We are not of any “new world” Columbus discovered. We are not Dominican enough or American enough to call either place home. We live and love with one foot on the ground and one foot in the sea.” This is how Jasminne Méndez describes what it was like for her to grow up a Dominican American military brat. Always feeling like a foreigner in both lands because people want to know “where you from,” and “how do you know Spanish?”

    In "Island of Dreams," author Jasminne Méndez, addresses these questions and their complicated answers in a multi-genre memoir that effortlessly blends poems and short stories to offer a glimpse into the challenges, joys, hopes, fears and disappointments she and her family faced being Dominican in America. Her work explores everything from the love/hate relationship she had with her hair and her mother, to the many memorable but sometimes unpleasant family vacations and holidays she shared with her parents, siblings, primos, tíos, y tías. These captivating stories and poems are about family, food, love, culture, self-discovery, assimilation, and the American dream. They are about a young girl who respects the richness and abundance of her cultural history, but who struggles to form her own identity because her Dominican values conflict with her American self and all she wants to do is find a place to call home. Join memoir-writer Jasminne Méndez in this luscious recalling of her family’s multi-faceted sojourn of family ties and their meaning, glorious cooking and eating, belonging and not belonging, and so many other complicated forays into the storied past. Sarah Cortéz, author, Walking Home: Growing Up Hispanic in Houston.

    Jasminne builds bridges between many worlds. Her potent voice conjures images of the Dominican Republican, Texas, Houston, the world. I've had the pleasure of seeing her perform in person. She is amazing in 3D. Actually, she performs in 6D-adding spirit, whimsy, and the future. She code-switches so brilliantly that you don't notice that she has jumped from Spanish to English to Spanglish to universal themes and back. Her work not only stands up on the page but takes on new meaning with potency, shattering barriers, breaking borders. This book will boggle your mind and thrill you. Tony Díaz, El Librotraficante, founder of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say.

 


 

 

 

Jalapeño Blues. Trinidad Sánchez, Jr. ISBN: 978-0-915745-72-2. $14.95.

"Trinidad Sánchez, Jr. was at his lyric craft for several decades before his death. He was a prominent poeta Tejano, who provided us in his lyric writings a rich Latino landscape embedded in an indifferent Anglo world covered by the knit of the ethnic fabric and soul of the Mexican, Chicano. He posited a background of side street allegories--literally representations of other things and symbolically expressing a deeper, often spiritual, moral, or political meaning--asphalt lives of inner-city dwellers, often disguised by the cadence of their conjoined languages, food, soul, tears, and laughs of their experience. His language is direct, his hurt is real as tamales con jalapeños, and his hope offers a collision of syntax, poetic physicality, images, and messages, both poignant and real. Trinidad Sánchez’s are necessary poems for a people who seek and demand justice, for children in free lunch with parents with obfuscating futures, for a society who uses and disposes of culture like fads and fashion. When children hear his poems their faces light up and their emotions pour with his words like wrapped in a warm home-made soft taco de carne. When adults listen to his poems their chests and foreheads rise tall like sails pushed by the ocean winds full of Chicano pride. His poems will be read and reread for generations to come. Roberto Cabello-Argandoña, Editor.

 


 

 

La Gringa. Pedro Martínez. ISBN: 978-0-915745-94-4. $24.95.

Joe García, a Marine Colonel and childhood friend devoted to the President, Jade Stewart, La Gringa, is also told from multiple points of view that push at the edges of literary tradition. The deciphering of the Da Vinci Code discovered Jade Stewart as the descendent of the Davidic Dynasty. Her existence threatens the legitimacy of Christian orthodoxy, and she is anathema to the Christian fundamentalists. Beautiful, brilliant and single, she is a controversial and charismatic President at a time of great change in America, including a schism between the American Catholic Church and the Vatican, the admission of English speaking Canada into the United States, and the political emergence of the Mexican-American community. Her election to the Presidency in 2008 is carried on the brown backs of Chicanos in Texas and California. By the age of fifteen Jade Stewart was uncontrollable, and her wealthy, widowed father, David Stewart, takes her from the family estate in New York to his ranch in South Texas. In Laredo Jade Stewart becomes involved with Beto Guerra, a Chicano mix of Elvis and James Dean. At the age of seventeen, Jade Stewart has a child out of wedlock by Beto Guerra who had enlisted in the Marines and not returned from the wars of the Middle East. The day after the child’s birth, David Stewart tells Jade that her baby boy had died. After her election eighteen years later, President Stewart’s enemies, the terrorist Christian Militias, steal the records of her child’s birth and presumed death. Threatening to charge that the President had had an abortion, they attempt to blackmail her. The President sends Joe García to Laredo to recover the evidence that her child had died the day after birth. Embedded with compelling characters from across the spectrum of the American narrative, La Gringa is an imaginative and disturbing vision of what the future may bring.

 

 


     

     

    La Malinche. By Jane Eppinga. ISBN 978-1481064804. $24.95

    Throughout history, countries have been conquered; civilizations destroyed; cultures eliminated; people killed by the masses. All for God and gold. Jane Eppinga’s interest and vast experience in writing about history culminates in a fascinating, multilayered story in La Malinche. Eppinga takes the conquest of Mexico to a deeper level as we follow the people whose lives were changed forever, or lost to the sweep of history. We travel with the Spaniards from the narrow streets of the Old Jewish Quarter in Seville on their search for unconquered land. We march with the Conquistadors from the Guadalquivir River to the massive pyramids and stone ruins of Mexico. We love and hate, pity and admire the characters who die, endure or conquer. We live in the violent and complex Aztec culture through their food, medicines and fearful family life. We see how the Spaniards fulfilled the visions and prophecies of the native people in their push for more gold than they could carry. We follow Malinche, pampered Maya princess, from her betrothal to the powerful Moctezuma to the bed of the conqueror, Cortés.

    Cuernavaca, a town outside Mexico City, holds Cortés’s grand summer palace. And a few miles away, is the lovely country estate he built for Malinche. I was told she was “Cortés’s beautiful Indian lover.” As I wandered through the gardens and shops, I wondered about this little-known woman. In La Malinche, Jane Eppinga has given us her story – and much more. Malinche was a woman caught in an epic battle for God and gold. But she, like most of us, only wanted love. Mary Tate Engels, Author, teacher, storyteller.

    Jane Eppinga’s writing credentials include more than 200 articles for both popular and professional publications covering a broad spectrum of children’s fiction, travel, personal profiles, biology, construction, food, and public relation pieces. Her books include a biography of Henry Ossian Flipper, West Point’s First Black Graduate, Arizona Twilight Tales, and books in Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series focusing on Arizona towns including Tucson, Nogales, Apache Junction and Tombstone. She writes regularly for Biology Digest. In 2009, Globe Pequot published her book. They Made Their Mark: An Illustrated History of the Society of Woman Geographers. That same year she made a presentation on the Society of Woman Geographers at the 10th International Congress of Women in Madrid, Spain.

     

     


     

     

    La Picardía Chicana: Latino Folk Humor. Folklore Latino Jocoso. José R. Reyna. Edited by Andrea Alessandra Cabello, M. D., with the Assistance of Gloria Canales. ISBN: 0-915745-42-9. $23.95.

    Mexican American, Chicano folk literature has been of interest to folklorists and been collected incidentally, mostly as part of compilations of the longer and more prestigious standard folktale. José Reyna began his collection of jokes 1969, and some of the jokes compiled then, appeared in Stanley L. Robe’s Antología del Saber Popular [1971]. Picardía Chicana, the result of thirty years of work, contains five hundred twenty-six jokes which are reproduced here verbatim from tape recordings collected in the field. Some jokes were collected by the author as field research projects at Texas A & M University-Kingsville [1972-77] and at the University of New Mexico [1977-1984]. Others are synopses of jokes that Dr. Reyna learned over the years and took the liberty of translating to English for presentation here. Other terms used for this subject are Latino folklore. Latino jokes. Latino folk humor. Folklore Latino. Folclor latino. Mexican American Folk humor.

    This book represents the best of Mexican American joke tradition. The title Picardía Chicana was selected in keeping with a well-known sixteenth-century Hispanic tradition of El Lazarillo de Tormes published originally in 1554, which spawned a new literary genre—la novela picaresca. Both the pícaro and the novela picaresca would surface in the New World—in Mexico—in the early nineteenth century (José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi, El Periquillo Sarniento).

     


     

     

     

    La revelación del Tercer Secreto de Fátima. Jorge Cancino. ISBN: 978-1-888205-39-8. $22.95.

    Este libro-reportaje sobre la vida de Miguel Ángel Poblete o Karole Romanov, y las apariciones de la Virgen María en Chile, es único. Revela parte de uno de los grandes misterios registrado durante la dictatura de Augusto Pinochet –el milagro del sol, fenómeno sobrenatural idéntico al registrado en Portugal el 13 de octubre de 1917- y que hizo temblar a El Vaticano durante el reinado del Papa Juan Pablo II con ‘La revelación del Tercer Secreto de Fátima’. La jerarquía de la Iglesia Católica chilena nunca aceptó como verdadera la aparición, la tildó de escandalosa y atribuyó la autoría a su principal enemigo, el Diablo.

    En cambio la Santa Sede, empleando mesura y diplomacia, respondió con un silencio activo. El entonces Joseph Ratzinger, cardenal Prefecto de la Sagrada Congregación para la Doctrina de la Fe, autorizó la celebración de misas en el lugar de las visitas, permiso que no retiró en abril de 2005 cuando fue electo Papa y adoptó el nombre de Benedicto XVI. Mientras era espiada por el temido servicio secreto de Pinochet, la CIA, el M15, el Mosad y el KGB enviaron a sus mejores agentes para reunir evidencias. Fue entonces cuando obispos y teólogos acusaron a Pinochet de fabricar la aparición con la ayuda de extranjeros para distraer la atención del pueblo de las atrocidades de su régimen. El gobierno respondió diciendo que obispos comunistas habían creado un invento místico para convocar al pueblo y comenzar una revuelta. Las acusaciones se mantienen.


     

     

    Latina Filmmakers and Writers: The Notion of Chicanisma through Films and Novellas. Jenny Dean. ISBN: 978-0-9796457-1-6. $24.95.

    During the Chicano Movement in the 1960s and 1970s, Chicanas helped Chicanos achieve equal rights, while at the same time suffered oppression as women wihin their own race. In the 1970s, the Chicana Feminist Movement was founded to address the specific needs of Chicanas as women of color in the United States. Chicana artists began to write and produce works in which Chicanas were given a proper name, voice, and image. Soon, Chicanisma, a sense of sisterhood and feminist discourse, emerged to confront the triple oppression of race, class, and gender.

    Latina Filmmakers and Writers: The Notion of Chicanisma Through Films and Novellas examines the works of seven celebrated Latinas who collectively represent a 20-year history of Chicanisma: Chicana (a film by Sylvia Morales), Puppet: A Chicano Novella (a book by Margarita Cota-Cárdenas), La Ofrenda: The Days of the Dead (a film by Lourdes Portillo and Susana Muñoz), Paletitas de Guayaba (a book by Erlinda Gonzáles-Berry), El Espejo/The Mirror (a film by Frances Salomé España) and Loving Pedro Infante (a book by Denise Chávez). These works demystify masculine power and offer realistic portrayals of Chicanas and give them a rightful name, image, and voice in American culture.


 

 

 

Latina Instinct. Michel Estrada. Translated by Robert Nasatir. ISBN: 978-0-915745-71-5. $24.95.

In Michel Estrada's Latina Instinct, Carmen leaves her modest life in rural Pinar del Río to attend the University of Havana. When she gets there, she confronts the harsh reality of contemporary Cuban life. Latina Instinct is an exceptional document of daily life in today's Havana, faithfully recording the challenging existence of university students struggling to make the grade. Before she can learn from her trials, Carmen must mature amidst the dangerous and complex streets of Havana. Michele Estrada's novel offers the first honest and riveting glance to present-day Cuban urban life. She attends the University to study computer science but the politics of academic life and the demands of school are quickly upstaged by the excitement and danger of Havana. She rooms with a group of experienced students who teach her how to get along: studious Paula, playful Dunia, naïve Monica, and Lili, the free-spirit. And the men in Carmen’s life are equally important: Arturo, the womanizing fifth-year student, and Sebastián, the debonair Spanish businessman. When Carmen first meets them, she is gullible, but each teaches her a valuable lesson by example, and they are not always good examples. She learns about survival, both at school and in the city, but the most important lessons are those that she can only learn on her own. Over the course of a year, Carmen encounters good and bad relationships, short-lived and lasting friendships. Her innocence leads her into difficult situations, but her wits, and a little luck, get her out of them. Along the way, Carmen changes from an innocent country girl thrown into the big city to an experienced and savvy young woman equipped to face the challenges of present-day Cuba.

 


 

 

 

Latina Mistress. R.F. Sánchez. ISBN: 978-0-915745-91-3. $24.95.

This story is about young and pretty illegal alien women in El Paso, Texas, who unknowingly fall or conveniently acquiesce to the sexual demands of their male employers, who most happen to be Anglo Americans. Much what has been written about El Paso and the southwest is about its history, its settlers, its movers and its heroes. Latina Mistress, however, is about ordinary people, illegal aliens, their loves, hates, beliefs, and more importantly their circumstances. The events which take place in the novel intersect the Hispanic and Anglo worlds, with their own good and evil characters. This novel follows the long tradition of historical fiction in the sense that all the anecdotes told here are actually true, although the names have been changed to protect the guilty. The author gathered these very human stories through years of observation as well as personal experience and much research.

The author and his wife, Helen, actually knew personally Berta, one of the tragic heroines of this novel. He also interviewed scores of males and females of both cultures attesting to the accuracy of the story. What is a young and beautiful illegal alien to do to survive two alien worlds, the Hispanic and Anglo worlds, with their own good and evil characters? The answer is shivering in its clarity: whatever is required.

This novel depicts the dramatic lives of two beautiful sisters, both illegal aliens, and how some people take advantage of their weakness and their sex. In this sense this novel is a classic tale of what has always occurred with the disadvantaged all along; the powerful taking advantage of the weaker and more disadvantaged members of society.

     

     


     

     

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    Long Way Home. By Harold J. Recinos. ISBN-13: 978-1888205626. $19.95

    Latino barrio Poetry--Social Life and customs

    pictureThis is a joint publication of Floricanto and Berkeley Presses. 


    The poems in
    Long Way Home memorialize, historicize, publicize, and chastise with beautifully woven words that seek to incite change by bridging the great gulf between parent and child, neighbor and neighbor, holy word and vulgar indifference, Spanish and English, between the promise of America and its bleak reality. These are gritty tales of real people who we are too often invisibilized. Though the poet implores us to see and hear and touch the downtrodden, he does not invoke pity, but admiration for their endurance, empathy so that we might see how our destinies are intertwined, and anger for the way the vulnerable are exploited.” Louis Mendoza, PhD, Prof. of Literary and Cultural Studies, Arizona State University; Author of Conversations Across Our America: Talking About Immigration and the Latinoization of the U.S. (University of Texas, 2012).  

    “More academics should follow Harold Recinos’ lead in bringing highbrow aesthetics to the giddy reality of those in need. To read poetry rooted in the margins is to discover the existing beauty in the midst of despair and disenfranchisement. Recinos paints for us what those with privilege seldom get to see.” Miguel de la Torre, Prof. of Social Ethics, Iliff School of Theology, Denver, Colorado. Author of The Politics of Jesus: a Hispanic Political Theology (Rowman and Littlefield, 2015) .  

    “Harold Recinos’ work has always involved interrogation of the conditions of life. This same concern for the structural and inner workings of human life also informs these poems. Whether or not you agree with the theology under girding this collection, you will appreciate the passion and commitment to well-being it seeks to communicate.” Anthony B. Pinn, Prof. of Humanities; and Religious Studies, Director of Graduate Studies; Author of Humanism: Essays on Race, Religion and Popular Culture (Bloomsbury 2015). 

     

     

     


     

     

    Los Duros. Manuel Luis Martínez. ISBN: 978-1497473553 $24.95

    This is a joint publication of Floricanto and Berkeley Presses. Los Duros is a destitute colonia suffocating in the brutal heat of the Mojave Desert. Families must live without running water or electricity as they attempt to survive on the edge of the Salton Sea, a toxic lake where dead fish rot and poisons pollute the shore. The reality of living in the shanty wastelands of the affluent jewel cities of southern California threatens to destroy two young men living in desperate poverty and abandonment. On a night of unthinkable violence, Banger and Tarasco will be thrust together as they confront the tragic circumstances that threatens to claim them as two more squandered casualties to the callous indifference suffered by those forced to live in the shadows. Guillermo, an idealistic teacher, and Juan, the long-absent father of one of the boys, are desperate to help them when Banger and Tarasco become suspects in a local arson and double-murder. Los Duros examines the role of fate in the lives of a generation of forgotten children; can love achieve redemption for a tortured father and raise the hope that origin does not constitute destiny? This is a crucial and timely story of a place that seems far away, but exists in the darkest recesses of our America and its dissipated dream. “In the tradition of Richard Vásquez and Tomás Rivera, Martinez brings to life the bleak — though not hopeless — world of Los Duros, a colonia of poor Latinos and undocumented workers located outside the wealth and sprawl of Palm Springs. Following the intertwined lives of four of its residents — a high school teacher newly arrived from San Antonio who uses his classroom for activism and uplift; one of his students, a man-sized Native American boy trying to hide from the world within his silence; another student, brash and angry and with a wild streak; and that boy’s estranged father, recently released from the penitentiary and wanting to atone for all the ways in which he has failed his son — Los Duros is Border Realism at its best, John Steinbeck in twenty-first century brown skin.” --David Wright, author of Fire on the Beach: Recovering the Lost Story of Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers “Los Duros is a haunting story of racism and poverty and sacrifice and love. Manuel Luis Martinez writes with such courage and grace, and he has much to show us about the comings and goings of people forced to the edge. The characters and events of this novel are unforgettable.” --Lee Martin, author of The Bright Forever Manuel Luis Martinez is a native Texan currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and daughter. He serves as an associate professor of twentieth century American literature, American studies, Chicano/Latino studies, and creative writing at the Ohio State University. His novels include, Crossing, Drift, and Day of the Dead. Most recently, he was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters. For a student study guide with news articles, interviews, documentaries, and other features including interaction with the author, please visit: www.facebook.com/LosDurosNovel. You may visit the author’s webpage: ManuelMartinez.info, or email him at memorybabe@me.com.


 

 

 

Luck is Just the Beginning. By Celeste León. Leyla Namazie, Editor. ISBN 978-1511639934. $23.95.

 

This is a joint publication of Floricanto and Berkeley Presses.

When nineteen-year-old Ramón León wins the Puerto Rican lottery, his dream of establishing the first dental and medical clinic in his village becomes achievable. But a chain of catastrophic events intervenes. Luck is Just the Beginning is not only an enchanting story of the joys and sorrows of family, but also the saga of one man’s determination to see his dream through.
Luck is Just the Beginning is the gripping story of heartbreak, courage and self-sacrifice, of one man’s struggle to find the right path to his dream. It will take your breath away and warm your heart.
David Sundstrand, author of Shadow of the Raven, Shadows of Death

 




Maravilla. By Laura del Fuego. ISBN: 0915745151. $22.95.

La Mujer Latina Series. "I named you Consuelo," my mother said, "because you didn't stop screaming for hours when you were born. I figured you needed hope." To Consuelo Concepción, "Cece" Contreres, however, hope seems to be just about all she's got. So when her boyfriend is cheating on her, her friends are doing drugs, and her parents don't understand her, is it any wonder that the only person she can talk to is St. Teresa de Avila? From the housing projects of East Los Angeles, Maravilla, to the lively scene of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district in the 1960s, Laura del Fuego's novel tells the absorbing and personal tale of a young Chicana, like many in real life, making her way in turbulent times. It is a thoughtful and sometimes violent story about coming of age in the heart of the barrio, discovering one's self in the midst of chaos and trying to make sense of a troubled life.

 


 

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María's Purgatorio. By Patrick Fontes. Edited by Leyla Namazie. ISBN-13: 978-1523315154. $23.95.

Latino barrio Fiction--Social Life and customs

pictureSex. Drugs. Violence. Speaking in tongues. Set in the sweltering summer months in Fresno, California, María seeks purpose, identity and some semblance of family among the gritty underground niches of society. Not content with who she is, or where she came from, María delves into various groups yearning for fulfillment in a dystopian landscape, one very real for anyone acquainted with the underbelly of cities like Fresno. Not satisfied with drugs and sex, María undergoes a spiritual conversion after meeting evangelists from a Pentecostal church. At last she is at home, with The Family, her new spiritual family, which offers more than her biological familia—so María thinks. In the end, her newfound life is not what it seems, and María at last finds happiness and contentment in a place she previously scorned. Throughout the book María is tormented between memories of her Abuela and her journey to find peace.

“A Danteesque novel set in modern day Fresno, that is smart as fuck without being pretentious. The Fresno of Patrick Fontes’s María’s Purgatorio is not for the faint of heart: On the surface, the city is a multi-layered purgatory and inferno of lost souls who writhe in heat and despair with their eyes sewn shut, unable to acknowledge or have empathy for their suffering, or the suffering of others. Some find solace in cruelty, others in drugs, or in the opiate of religion, or completely retreating from the world. María must climb out of Fresno’s hell-worlds in order to discover self-reliance and community within her family and heritage. A smart and pungent first novel, the reader sweats and cringes with the narrative of Fresno’s abyss; however, finds within it things and people who are beautiful and worth remembering.” Nicole Henares, poet, educator.


 

 

Mariposas: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry. Emanuel Xavier, Editor. ISBN: 978-0979645-79-2 . $19.95.

Emanuel Xavier is author of two collections of poetry, Pier Queen and Americano, and a fiction novel, Christ Like. He also edited Bullets & Butterflies: queer spoken word poetry and selected finalists for Best Gay Erotica 2008. His work has appeared in many publications including The James White Review, Genre, Long Shot, Virgins, Guerrillas & Locas, and Queer & Catholic. He is the recipient of the Marsha A. Gomez Cultural Heritage Award and a New York City Council citation for his many contributions to gay and Latino culture. “Whether straight, bisexual, closeted or openly gay, Latino voices have made a deep mark in the poetry scene. Despite distinction in style, dialect, and customs within the Latino mosaic, our voices have been unified by a determination to be heard. Much like poetry in general, whether academic or self-taught, the need to express ourselves cannot be restricted within borders. Whatever language transferred between pen and paper, it is imperative to share our experiences with the world at large.”

 




 

 

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Mexican Queer Theater. By Clary Loisel, Ph.D. Leyla Namazie, Editor. ISBN 9781519636881. $16.95.

 

pictureThis is a joint publication of Floricanto and Berkeley Presses.

Kudos to Clary Loisel’s Mexican Queer Theater for advancing the English translation of the early work of gifted playwrights such as Elena Guiochíns and Mayho Moreno. Loisel’s take on “Connecting People” is so right and hilariously iconoclast! The play reveals Guiochíns’s early interest in the playful deconstruction of the text and displacement of essential notions of human will. Loisel’s translation of this work marshals a great many knowledges as it rightly sutures the delivery of Connecting People’s fractured edgy humor and its contestation of time, space, and subjective agency. In contrast to this, Loisel’s skillful translation of Mayho Moreno’s beautifully seductive but disturbing Between Sun and Shadow, of a willful young woman and her thirty-something female lover, presents the reader with what appears to be an uninterrupted distracted tension between the two women, which then culminates in a sharp register of sinister dominance by the older over the younger. Thanks to Loisel’s translation, the reader realizes the younger will emerge victorious given her expansive imagination and greater capacity for dark eroticism.
Adelaida R. Del Castillo, Associate Professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies San Diego State University

 

 


Migrant Earth. By Ramón Mesa Ledesma. ISBN:13: 978-1497473553. $22.95

Migrant Earth very eloquently documents the travels and travails of a family of Mexican migrant workers as they wander the Western United States in the nineteen forties and fifties. These are poignant tales that paint the life and death struggle of a family living on the periphery of a dominant white culture that simultaneously loathed and needed them. They owned but the clothes on their backs and lived in rat infested, dilapidated agricultural labor camps throughout the Pacific Northwest.  They worked from sunup to sundown in pesticide laced fields under scorching, unrelenting summer suns. While wandering the countryside working the fields--white society was too genteel to harvest--they dreamed of better times and the safety of a piece of land they could call home. Ultimately they were able to save enough to purchase a small thirty acre farm in Eastern Washington. But just when the hard life seemed over, his padres divorced and mamá with nine children in tow was sent back on the migrant labor circuit.

 


 

 

Mosaic Virus. Carlos T. Mock, M.D. ISBN: 9780915745798. $23.95.

By It is 1983. In Rome, Cardinal Siri, the most powerful Cardinal in the Vatican, summons a young Jesuit priest and assigns him a grave and urgent task. The Vatican has been keeping secret an epidemic of deaths among priests in the northeastern United States. Father Javier Barraza must determine how and why they are dying-and whether a suspected international conspiracy against the Holy Roman Church is coming to fruition. Barraza is an Argentinean who has risen swiftly through the ranks to the post of Devil's Advocate--an investigator of candidates for sainthood. In his new assignment, his path immediately intersects with Lillian Davis-Lodge, a special agent with the FBI, and a compelling figure from Barraza's past. The reappearance of Lillian is more than mere coincidence; she is far from the "special agent" she claims to be. She occupies the highest echelons of power in the United States, with full access to information and influence. Secrets and spies inhabit the subterranean world of the Church just as they do the government of the United States, and a disturbing trail of evidence strongly indicates to Barraza that his Church may be complicit in what he has been assigned to investigate.


     

     

     

    A Most Memorable Quinceañera. Una Quinceañera Muy Memorable. By Leslie Concepción. ISBN: 978-1494253776 $14.95

    This is a publication of Floricanto Press. “Saying goodbye to childhood is never easy.” The magical day, when a girl can play out her own fairytale fantasy and be a princess for a day, is her Quinceañera, and for Mimi that day has finally arrived. But instead of the excitement and jubilation she is expected to feel, all she can summon is uneasy dread and anxiety about what this day means. Her parents have been planning this event her whole life and Mimi is filled with the weight of their expectations, to act like a proper lady and know what to do. She doesn't know what to do and can’t comprehend how an archaic ceremony can change the way people see her, and how she could be a woman just because the calendar marks her a day older. Mimi doesn’t want people to treat her differently and no amount of rehearsing can mask the insecurities she feels. To make matters worse her cousin, Lala, picks the day of Mimi's Quinceañera to reveal she is pregnant, and it's only been a year after her very own Quinceañera. Mimi is distraught and believes that is what happens when parents, family, and society, rush a girl into womanhood. This is all the more reason for Mimi not to accept the tradition of publically becoming a woman. This is a coming of age story about two cousins, who are the best of friends. While her cousin, Lala is thrilled to enter womanhood, Mimi is not so enthusiastic and doesn’t feel she is ready for all the social responsibilities that come along with being a woman. The girls will learn to stick together and that the bond between family is stronger than any rite of passage. A very elaborate descriptive and story about the conflicts and tribulations in a young girls’ life as she enters womanhood. Everyone needs a Tia Emmi in their life. By Judy Paneto-Roman

    Great book about the the Quinceañera culture. As a mom of a soon to be teenager, I will pass down this book to my daughter so that she can learn about the culture and the importance of family. Jessica Cortez

    A most memorable story I was quickly captivated by this story, as I can certainly relate to all the drama and prepping that goes into planning "Sweet 15" Quinceañera it's something we all look forward to when coming of age, Leslie's story is definitely something I would hand my daughter prior to her Quinceañera. Veronica Paneto Mimi’s character transported me back to a time in my life where I was caught between innocence and the impending “Real” world. Her struggle is personal and heartwarmingly portrayed and I was easily wrapped up in the story. Deborah Rosa, MA

    A Most Memorable Quinceañera, is a wonderfully human and culturally sensitive story about a Latina girl's passage from childhood to womanhood. Mrs. Concepcion captures all the fears and apprehensions of this passage from a young person's point of view and allows her characters to make mistakes and misjudgments along the way. The author's interweaving of the Quinceañera ceremony makes for a fascinating exploration of growing up. In the end, the greatest discovery is that no one has to fear the future if there is love and support around you. Gayle S. Hoffman, MSW, ACSW.


 

 

 

Mourning for Papá: A Story of a Syrian-Jewish Family in Mexico. Jacobo Sefamí. ISBN: 978-1-888205-31-2. $23.95.

Using the death of the father as a point of departure, the novel is divided into ten chapters, a structure that is particularly effective because the chapters correspond to the ten days that begin on the Jewish New Year and end on the Day of Pardon... Thus the mythic time of a millenarian religion such as Judaism is strategically juxtaposed to the recapturing of a family's memory that is both contemporary and unmistakably Mexican . . . The dialogues are tinged with Jewish humor -Jorge Schwartz

Each character lives simultaneously within three cultures -Jewish, Syrian, and Mexican-in a hybrid narration that produces fascinating mixtures -Lucía Guerra The representation of a state of mind throughout the novel is magnificent, particularly since he dares to portray a personal story as it pertains to both a collective consciousness and to the alienation that is caused by death... The blend of comedy and tragedy is maintained throughout the novel, in the best Jewish tradition, as established by Fernando de Rojas. I certainly enjoy the interweaving of languages and linguistic varieties. It is a pleasure to see such linguistic complexity sustained throughout the entire novel, without ever faltering. -José Kozer


 

 

Noches de Adrenalina\Nights of Adrenaline. By Carmen Ollé. Translated by Anne Archer. La Mujer Latina. English/Spanish bilingual parallel text. ISBN: 0-915745-46-1. $14.95.

"CAUTION: Nights of Adrenaline is a text of intense, incisive, and extreme violence--but also, paradoxically, and at certain moments, of an almost innocent tenderness. The obsessive exploration of the feminine condition, exploration of body and mind and of their unstable and intermingled overlappings, as well as of a woman's conflictive social placement in a world made neither by nor for her, yields a tension that is highly explosive in a poetry that relinquishes nothing: not the banal, not the quotidian, not the obscene.

Carmen Ollé is one of the most important Latin American poets of the twentieth century." Antonio Cornejo Polar, University of California at Berkeley and Universidad de San Marcos, Lima.


 

 

Notes From Exile. T.M. Spooner. ISBN: 978-0-915745-89-0 302. $19.95.

Rich in language and imagery, Notes from Exile is a skillfully crafted novel. A blend of humor and drama thread this tale, concluding in what can best be described as a haunting modern tragedy. Struggles both large and small remind us of human frailties and how in the final analysis, we go it alone. For its wit and passion, this novel should not be missed! Mexico has long been a land of enchantment and mystery, a place where more than one foreigner has sought refuge, fleeing real or imagined demons. In a quaint village along the shores of Lake Chapala, two recent college graduates join two men living in self-imposed exile.

One, a journalist and jaded philosopher is escaping an inherited family destiny; the other, a British combat veteran is fleeing what many viewed an unnecessary war. Notes from Exile is a venerable creation, containing humor, love, and sorrow - each in their own time and measure, all ingredients for a story of escape and hope. Through the novel we learn, often harshly, how each one of us is responsible for defining our destiny. The dilemma is that while some will succeed, others will tragically fail.


     

     

     

    Once in a Lifetime. Chris Campanioni. ISBN 13: 978-1-888205-54-1. $11.95

    Fifty poems and one day provide the footage for Fifty poems and one day provide the footage for Chris Campanioni’s Once in a Lifetime (a film in four acts). But even time gradually dissolves in this coming-of-age drama interlaced with pop music, the age of Internet and status updates, cinema and celebrity, memories of Cuba and Poland, and the passage to the United States. Runtime: 24 hours.

    “Incredible stuff here, truly. If readers looked no further than the wordplay and love of language and rhythm, they’d be delighted. But there is so much going on below the surface, which I guess is also one of the author’s many points. Visceral and moving.” — Across the Margin.

    “I love Campanioni’s poetry . . . reminiscent of the leading Chicano poet Luis Omar Salinas. Cheekiness and delicateness all in one.” — Rosebud Magazine.

    “In his follow-up to the award-winning In Conversation, Campanioni doesn’t just re-invent form, he tries to re-create language via a collision of cultures and pop referents. He doesn’t rely on his formal tricks and the result is a poignancy and intimacy we haven’t seen before. Once in a Lifetime is equal parts cut-up and confessional.” — Giancarlo Lombardi, Professor of Italian and Comparative. Literature, College of Staten Island & Graduate Center/CUNY.

     


 

 

    The Ones Santa Anna Sold. Valle-Sentíes, Raquel. ISBN: 978-1497473300 $15.95

    “This is a joint publication of Floricanto and Berkeley Presses. These poems are powerful, immediate, and raw. And they speak of universal pain and disappointment. But also they are about a world that is unique and not so well-known this city of Laredo. As a writer, I am admiring of your perception and your style. You are a wonderful poet. ---Lori Carlson Hijuelos New York editor of Cool Salsa, Red Hot Salsa and Voices in Third Person.

    Raquel Sentíes has a direct and honest poetic voice. Her poetry is lyrical without being romantic: it is sensual, ironic, questioning. It speaks to us bi-lingually: in language and in culture. She speaks of growing up and living in a world that is treacherous yet somehow in the end satisfying. There are many moments of truth in these poems which are not always easy to read but yet are always revealing. They are filled with violence, sadness, betrayal, unfulfilled longings, dreams, and of course death. The ghosts who haunt Senties’ house and her mind remind us that we too have something to contribute to these hauntings. ---Prof. Tey Diana Rebolledo, Modern Languages, Univ. of New Mexico and well known literary critic; author of Infinite Divisions and Women Singing in the Snow.

     


 

 

Operation Familia. Donna del Oro. ISBN: 978-0-915745-96-8. $24.95.

Dina Salazar likes to think she has it together. Dodging the bullet of early marriage and motherhood that every other female in her family has succumbed to, she’s her own woman. Or is she? Is she free ...or just lost? Adventurous, athletic Dina has a satisfying career and her freedom from emotional entanglements. She has it all. All except the love of her life, Rick Ramos—THE HATED ONE--who ended up marrying another woman nearly six years before. All except the closeness of her blue-collar family, who live in a Latino barrio of Salinas, ninety miles south of Silicon Valley.

All except the feeling of belonging to her cultural heritage. She speaks Spanish but who is she really? Is she a mixed mutt with an American mind and a Latino heart? “A delightful, endearing story! You can’t help but root for Dina in her journey of self-discovery.” --Brenda Novak, Nationally Best-selling Author.

“Dina is a character that many Latinos can identify with—a woman trying to weave her own place between cultures. Around Dina, Donna Del Oro has done her own weaving: a heady plot …of crime, romance, family conflict and intrigue.” Carlos Alcalá, Sacramento Bee Columnist.

How does a modern, educated Latina, disconnected from her traditional Mexican-American family, discover her true identity and "orgullo" (cultural pride)? Dina Salazar likes to think she has it together. Dodging the bullet of early marriage and motherhood that every other female in her family has succumbed to, she's her own woman. Or is she? Is she free . . . or just lost?


 

 

Oro, Incienso y Mirra. By Ariel González Calzada. ISBN: 978-1-888205-40-4. $9.50.

Cuando le dije a mi esposa que "Oro, Incienso y Mirra" era un libro tanto para niños como para aquellos chiquillos de antaño que ahora son viejos ella sonrió dejándome desconcertado. He aquí el por qué de mi confusión: José, Patricia, y Pablo son tres niños que, como tantos en el mundo, sufren las consecuencias de una sociedad desigual. Sumergidos en sus universos de contradicciones ven por primera vez un árbol de navidad. Les pareció mágico.

Siguiendo su rastro conocen a Rocío del Valle, una anciana que, medio siglo atrás, había sido una actriz famosa, sin embargo, ahora estaba abandonada. Junto a ella descubren a un Dios que, a pesar de estar prohibido, los ama. Aprenden que trabajar por amor es mejor que por dinero; y que, aunque no tengan nada, son tan importantes y únicos como aquellos que lo tienen todo ¡Un momento! Pensándolo mejor, ya entiendo para quienes escribí este libro: para los viejos que, víctimas de la sociedad, no pudieron ser niños, y para los niños que, por el mismo motivo, nunca llegaran a ser viejos.


 

 

Out of the Closet onto the Stage: An Anthology of Contemporary Mexican Gay and Lesbian Theater. Clary Loisel. ISBN 978-1481288019. $26.95.

This anthology brings together seven contemporary Mexican plays with homosexual themes. The dramatists are interested in the gay and lesbian being exactly as the term says—“being”—someone who is profoundly human. This means a human being who knows how to love and to suffer, who has hopes, who wants to have a family, who needs a job, who hates, who is passionate, who gets scared, who has ideals, and who even lives or dies for them.

These plays are easily staged and are now available to independent, university-oriented, and semi-professional theater groups in the English-speaking world as well as to all other groups or organizations who may not have much financial support but who do have worlds of talent. With this anthology, Dr. Loisel presents a compilation of works that is as thematically rich as it is varied. The result is a collection that challenges monolithic definitions of being, writing, and ‘acting gay’ in contemporary Mexico. Kathy Fox, Associate Professor, Spanish, St. Ambrose University.

 


 

 

Paletitas de Guayaba On A Train Called Absence. By Gonzales-Berry, Erlinda. Translated with commentary by Kay (Kayla) S. García, Translated with commentary by Erlinda Gonzales-Berry. ISBN 978-1481013888. $23.95.

Paletitas de Guayaba’s story is narrated in the first person by Marina, who is traveling by train from New Mexico to Mexico City in search of her identity, her history, and answers to many questions that are tormenting her. As the train carries her through the Mexican landscape, she has flashbacks of her life in New Mexico, a failed romance, and a previous journey. The narration also flashes forward to her arrival, and to her discoveries and adventures in Mexico, where she confronts both her historical and mythical past as well as her complex, multicultural present. The themes of hybrid identity, the Chicano movement, Mexican history, U.S.-Mexican relations, and female sexuality are explored, in a highly experimental and self-reflecting narratorial style that is lyrical, profound, and sometimes profane. Paletitas...delivers the powerful lesson of how multiple identities and subject positions can be constructed from the other side of various international, inter-ethnic, and sexual borders. By combining this lesson with humor and a wonderfully executed language, [it] instructs . . . and . . . entertains, and in this way seals its connection to the best . . . Chicano oral tradition. Angie Chabram-Dernersesian, Dictionary of Literary Biography, 2009 Gonzales-Berry...se rebela contra las limitaciones tradicionales del bildungsroman femenino . . . caracterizado de buena medida por su utilidad para “domesticar” a las mujeres lectoras. Marina, por el contrario, aprende a deshacerse de esos mecanismos culturales reductores y a establecerse a sí misma como persona madura y compleja. Manuel M. Martin-Rodríguez. Latin American Literary Review (Jan-June 1995) Paletitas de Guayaba ... is a trip to the heart of being a Chicana and toward a transnational identity and what that means in terms of nation, race, gender and sexuality.—Diana Rebolledo Erlinda Gonzales-Berry’s ancestors settled in the Río Grande Valley in 1598. She grew up in el campo in Northeastern New Mexico, attended high school in El Rito, and received her Ph.D. at the University of New Mexico. Gonzales-Berry currently lives in Corvallis, Oregon where she retired from the Ethnic Studies Department at Oregon State University in 2007. Kay (Kayla) S. García, the co-translator of Paletitas de Guayaba/On a Train Called Absence, is Professor of Spanish at Oregon State University, and author of Broken Bars: New Perspectives from Mexican Women Writers (University of New Mexico Press), and the translator of a novel by the Mexican author Jacobo Sefamí, The Book of Mourners.

 


 

 

Papi Chulo. Carlos T. Mock. ISBN: 978-0-9796457-0-9. $24.95.

"If self-identity is a crucial issue in this literature, then national identity is what Carlos Mock addresses; and Papi Chulo, actually is the story of a country as seen through the eyes and lives of three strong women of several generations. For Carlos Mock, the theme is felt so strongly that it must be openly expressed. "To Puerto Ricans, I've become an American. But to Americans of Puerto Rican descent, I'm insufficiently Puerto Rican because I've not undergone the years of prejudice they have." So the question becomes, who are any of these characters, these authors, these people? And we've not yet begun to explore other themes of this writing: machismo versus homosexuality, male versus female, and how or even why that should alter to catch up to the rest of the world. Or the role of the various religions--Catholicism versus Santeria, for example--that permeates in the novel. So much to read. So much to think of. Meanwhile welcome to this new line of Floricanto gay Hispanic books. I hope you enjoy the work, as much as I've enjoyed it." Felice Picano

 


 

 

Pig Behind The Bear. By Maria Nieto, Edited by Ms. Yasmeen Namazie and Jose Hernández; Illustrated by Celeste McCarty. ISBN 978-1480093676. $19.95.

It is 1971, one year after the killing of famed LA Times reporter, Rubén Salazar. A junior reporter, Alejandra Marisol, who works for the LA Times is asked to write a commemorative piece on Salazar in recognition of the one-year anniversary of his death.While doing work for the piece, Alejandra finds that she is embroiled in a murder mystery that appears to have ties to Rubén Salazar's death. Alejandra uncovers a world of evil and corruption with the help of an unlikely collection of people who become heroes and who challenge us to think differently about ourselves and the world we live in; Rocky the philosophizing WWI veteran, Sumire, the clairvoyant ex-Japanese internment camp prisoner, Tía (Aunt) Carmen, the wise-cracker who can wield a powerful left leg jab with a retractable prosthesis, Tony and Chucho, the neighborhood homeboys, and Gato the wonder cat. Alejandra also gets help from a dancing Jesus who feels misunderstood, and from his mom, Mary, who bestows Alejandra with a tube of lipstick that helps Alejandra unleash her inner strength. The reader will travel through streets and townships where rich Angelino culture comes to life, and where tragedy and despair are transformed into hope.

Maria Nieto's "Pig Behind the Bear" is definitely a double treat: a fast-paced mystery story and a coming of age novel. At the center of both stories is Alejandra Marisol, a young L.A. Times journalist, who is as smart and courageous as she is charming and sensitive. While researching a story about the late L.A. Times reporter Rubén Salazar in 1971, she stumbles across a number of ritualistic murders and other crimes against the most vulnerable among us: the children and the immigrants. Her outrage fuels her determination to bring to justice the criminals. Maria Nieto has penned a most intriguing crime story, featuring a young heroine but also plenty of engaging characters of all ages? and yes, with plenty of romances for all ages, too! ? Pig Behind the Bear? is sure to capture the attention of both younger and older readers, who will keep turning the pages as fast as they can till the thrilling and satisfying end! Bravo, Maria! Encore: otra, otra! Lucha Corpi, author of Eulogy for a Brown Angel: a Gloria Damasco Mystery.

Maria Nieto grew up in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles and moved from the area in 1984 to attend a Ph.D graduate program in Immunology at UC Berkeley. Maria currently resides in Oakland and is a Professor of Biology at California State University, East Bay where she has been engaged in underrepresented-minority student recruitment, teaching, and research for over 23 years. As a researcher and educator, Maria's writings have taken the form of scientific journal publications, and more recently popular press articles. Pig Behind The Bear represents Maria's first work of fiction.

 


 

 

Poems of Ramón López Velarde. López Velarde, Ramón. Edited and translated by Mark Jacobs. ISBN: 978-1494243791 $22.95

“The essential and supreme poet of our extensive Americas.” —Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda

“López Velarde is the most admired and most carefully studied poet in Mexico . . . [He] left us a few poems . . . so perfect that it is foolish to lament those that death prevented him from writing.”—Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz

“López Velarde . . . was a wonder.” —Jorge Luis Borges

Millions of Mexicans know Ramón López Velarde as the author of Suave Patria, the national poem of Mexico, and a modernist masterpiece. But few inside or outside Mexico know the high opinion of him held by his fellow greats of Latin American poetry. López Velarde's Wikipedia entry correctly states: “Despite his importance, he remains a virtual unknown outside his own country.” As an example of how unknown, all the other major Mexican poets (and even some minor ones) are in The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry, but not López Velarde. He is truly a forgotten modernist master. In 1963, Pablo Neruda published his own selection of the poems of López Velarde. The Chilean Nobel Laureate even rented rooms in a former residence of López Velarde's where Neruda "began to live in the full atmosphere of López Velarde, whose poetry began to penetrate me . . . There is no more distilled poetry than his . . . [He] gave to the poetry of the Americas a flavor and a fragrance that will last forever . . . Few poets with so few words have told us so much and so eternally of their own land . . . [His] brief pages reach, in some subtle way, the eternity of poetry."

 


 

 

Lima, Robert. Por caminos errantes. ISBN: 978-1494354367 $14.95

This is a joint publication of Floricanto and Berkeley Presses. "Caminos errantes" is a collection of poems by Robert Lima. This poetry book is presented in four sections: I ABECEDARIO. II ARQUEO-ANTROPOLOGÍA. A. Maya. B. Andina. III SITIOS HABANEROS. IV CALLES LIMEÑAS. The poems evoke desire and physical presence, and the sharing of his personal experience of his relationship to the objects and places in the temporal world. It is an explication for why his own impressions are vitally important. His voice does not allow us to look away from his lyrical experience. Una colección de poemas en castellano por Robert Lima.

 


 

 

Por culpa de Candela. Teresa Dovalpage. ISBN: 978-1-888205-15-2. $24.95.

Esta colección de relatos tiene un hilo conductor y un común denominador que es Cuba. La isla ausente o presente; la isla de la que algunos quieren escapar; la isla a la que otros sueñan con regresar. En los catorce cuentos de Teresa Dovalpage hay desengaños amorosos —tarros pegados en vernáculo. Hay amistades traicionadas, abuelas desvirgadoras de mozos no muy tímidos y viejecitas al parecer ingenuas que se quitan, muertas de risas, sus máscaras de ovejas al final. Y no puede olvidarse una vena mexicana que se filtra en los textos, nutriendo con tequila y corridos a la corriente isleña. El fantasma legendario y rechoncho de José Lezama Lima asoma el tabaco en un cuento mientras que en otro, una chica golpeada aprende a defenderse a cucharazos limpios. Pero en todos campea por sus respetos el caimán caribeño de la obsesión. El humor y la fluidez, la ironía y el desenfado, pero sobre todo la inteligencia, son algunas de las armas que esgrime Teresa Dovalpage en sus cruzadas por la narrativa. La escritora se ha convertido en un Balzac de la sociedad cubana dentro y fuera de la Isla. Ella sin dudas será consultada a la hora de escribir la verdadera historia de la Cuba de hoy. Ena Columbié, Editora de Ediciones EntreRíos, Los Ángeles California.

NADIE RECREA EL HABLA HABANERA DE FORMA TAN SABROSA COMO GUILLERMO CABRERA INFANTE. NADIE. SOLO TERESA DOVALPAGE. Dr. Roberto Ampuero, PhD Department of Spanish and Portuguese The University of Iowa.

 


 

 

Por la Calle North Claremont: Beto Stories. By Adolfo Butch Cárdenas. Edited by Yasmeen Namazie and Genevieve Miller. ISBN 978-1481182911. $22.95.

In a world of literacy education where Hispanic literature is still a rarity, Por la Calle North Claremont: Beto Stories are a gem in that it will provide students with the confidence to see the importance of their own childhood experiences. Students can read this book knowing that Hispanic literature does not have to portray children in worlds of poverty with barrios full of unloving parents, racial turmoil, rampant crime, dog-eat-dog politics, and other hopeless situations. The author provides children with the hope of living a life with the same good natured character Beto encourages, and he also gives voice to those of us who grew up in happy homes, with loving parents and good friends. Of course, the book is true to reality in that Beto does experience the usual turmoil many children face such as not always getting everything he wants, stressful school relations, family disputes and corporal punishment. Yet, Beto ends up okay with the help of those who at times drive him crazy, yet love him always—his friends and family. The book’s ending will also leave students wondering what happens next to Beto as he grows into a fine young man, always honest, loyal, responsible, and fun-loving.

 

 


 

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Romancero gitano. By Federico García Lorca. Edited by Leyla Namazie. ISBN-13: 978-1-888205-65-7. $9.95

Spanish Poetry books--Generation 27

pictureEl Romancero gitano, The Gypsy Ballads is a lyric work that Lorca began writing in 1923 and was published 1928. This Romancero is comprised of eighteen folk ballads about themes, such as night, death, blood, sky and the moon. The overriding theme is the Gypsy folk world. These ballads represent a synthesis of folk poetry and high lyrics, exposed in Andalucia and the Gypsy in a mythic and metaphoric style. This work reflects the sufferings of the Gypsy people, who are persecuted by authorities and their struggle against this repressive governmental overreach.

El Romancero gitano, The Gypsy Ballads, es una obra poética de Federico García Lorca, publicada en 1928. Este Romancero está compuesta por dieciocho romances con temas como la noche, la muerte, el cielo, la luna. Todos los poemas tienen algo en común, tratan de la cultura gitana. Representa una gran síntesis entre la poesía popular y la alta, transcurre entre dos temas prmordiales, Andalucía y los gitanos, tratados en forma metafórica y mítica. La obra refleja las penas de un pueblo que vive al margen de la sociedad y que se ve perseguido por los representantes de la autoridad, y por su lucha contra esa autoridad represiva.

 

 

 

 


 

The Salvation of La Purísima. T.M. Spooner. ISBN: 978-0-915745-88-3. $22.95.

The Salvation of La Purisima is a profound and heartrending look at a disenfranchised and poverty-ridden society that, driven by the necessity of its own survival, culturally pressures its members to make a perilous migration and earn money whether they want to go or not. Highly recommended. - Midwest Book Review

Perhaps the biggest achievement of the story are real characters that you quickly learn to like and care about. Consequently, there's a more human face put on the current phenomenon of "illegal immigration." These people are not simply numbers and statistics but, rather, living, breathing human beings. I look forward to seeing more from Señor Spooner. - Alan Cogan (Mexico Connect)

Spooner has a keen eye and ear for Mexico, without glamorizing or admonishing the country or its people. His many years of Mexico travel to the less touristy destinations produce a work of unvarnished authenticity. - David Simmonds (MexicoFile)

T.M. Spooner's first novel, The Salvation of La Purísima, explores the forces driving Mexican migrants north and the resulting impact on the communities and families left behind. The journey north is no longer just an economic necessity, but has evolved into a rite of passage for so many of Mexico's rural youth.

 


 

 

The Secret of a Long Journey. Sandra Shwayder Sánchez. Edited by Yasmeen Namazie and Roberto Cabello-Argandoña. ISBN 978-1480285033. $24.95.

The Secret of a Long Journey is the story of a cherished and dangerous secret, passed along from generation to generation through many lands and many perils: from Spain to Flanders across the ocean to Vera Cruz and up through the desert to what is now New Mexico. In magical realist style, this chronicle takes the Sephardic characters through the terrors of the Inquisition, shipwrecks and hurricanes, sandstorms and wars, lost loves and illness, all culminating when Lois Gold, a passionate court advocate for the disenfranchised, discovers the legacy of her lost grandfather.

“In The Secret of a Long Journey, Sánchez moves effortlessly through time and place with a mesmerizing plot. Generations come and go and each one propels the next. Her fascinating characters are solidly grounded in vivid natural or urban environments. Whether it is 16th century Flanders or 20th century Denver, you never lose the thread of the story, thanks to the author’s mastery of craft and her powerful imagination. The characters will lodge in your mind long after you’ve read the book . . .” Gloria DeVidas Kircheimer, author: Goodbye Evil Eye, and Amalie in Orbit.

“Sandra Shwayder Sánchez explores in intimate detail the experiences and emotions of her characters as she takes the reader on a vividly imagined journey from the old world to the new, through history to modern times. In poetic prose that summons all of our senses, Sánchez creates and maintains unique voices that speak through the generations and the blending of cultures and faiths.” Linda LeBlanc, author Beyond the Summit.

The Secret of a Long Journey is a lyrical, textured, beautifully told tale of lives lived and lost and secrets kept and shared. This mesmerizing page-turner takes readers on a journey from 16th century Flanders and North America’s “New Spain” to 20th century America. Steeped in history and rooted in an insightful novelist’s understanding of the complex, fragile, and sometimes nefarious emotions that embody the human psyche, Sánchez weaves the story of one family’s unwavering, intergenerational commitment to cherish and transmit its cultural and spiritual heritage. Set against the backdrop of Inquisitional Europe and the early history of the Spanish rule of the American southwest, The Secret of a Long Journey chronicles the lives of painters and healers, explorers and adventurers, lawyers and cowboys . . . Along the way, it sheds light on the intricate ways Sephardic Jews, Spanish, Native American, Mexican and Anglo cultures often collided, sometimes comingled, and ultimately coexisted, finding a way to transmute ancient traditions into contemporary secular justice and compassion. Mary Saracino, author of The Singing of Swans (Pearlsong Press 2006), Voices of the Soft-bellied Warrior (Spinsters Ink Books 2001), Finding Grace (Spinsters Ink 1999) and No Matter What (Spinsters Ink 1993).

Sandra Shwayder Sánchez is a native of Denver, Colorado and a retired attorney who now resides in the small mountain town of Nederland with her husband of nearly twenty years, John Edward Sánchez.

 


 

 

Seventy Times Seven. Ricardo Elizondo. Geoff Hargreaves, Translator. ISBN: 978-1482319231. $22.95.

“Why hurry to give a welcome to grief?” asks Carolina. In the 1880’s a Mexican family splits in two; Carolina remains in rural Mexico, while her two brothers head north to what will become urban Texas. Still connected but ever more separate, the three siblings pass through triumph and tragedy, laughter and tears, births and deaths, love and hate, as their genetic and cultural heritages adapt to or resist the challenges of changing and unchanging environments. This is a vivid family saga, told with stirring simplicity, where the past wrestles with the future and character is often destiny “I am glad to see that this classic of modern Mexican fiction is at last available in English.” Aglae Dickinson Dr.

 

 


 

 

The Shadow of the Fathers. Robert Friedman. ISBN: 978-0-915745-99-9. $22.95.

In Shadow of the Fathers, Robert Friedman turns a disturbing, possibly tragic historical event in Puerto Rico into a captivating work of fiction. Personal obsessions and public events collide as the novel's characters grapple with lies, false identities, puzzling connections, U.S. wars and colonialism. A rich, suspenseful tale, the novel moves from the colorful life of San Juan to the snow-covered streets of New York, from the pastel heat of Miami to the fog-shrouded canals of Amsterdam. Pablo Camino is the son of a doctor sent to Puerto Rico over four decades earlier to research a cure for pernicious anemia. While there, Dr. Cornelius Rhoads claimed in a letter to his close friend, "Ferdie" that he had purposely killed eight of his Puerto Rican patients and planned to exterminate several more of "that degenerate race." The letter was discovered and Rhoads was forced to leave the island. He later insisted it was all a joke. Pablo, a highly regarded Puerto Rican artist, is haunted by his dead father's past. Did the doctor really kill those patients?


 

 

Silent Herons. By Selfa Chew. Toshiya Kamei, translator. Yasmeen Namazie, editor. ISBN 978-1888205442. $24.95.

On December 7, 1941, a Japanese suicide squadron attacked Pearl Harbor, marking the beginning of the Pacific War against Japan in all fronts. After this event, the U.S. and its military engaged in an unforgiving and furious campaign against Japan, which reached Mexico and hundreds of Mexican citizens. This offensive took place gradually and systematically in the Mexican Republic. Japanese immigrants—and their (Mexican) descendants in Mexico—suffered, as in the United States, the consequences of World War II in various ignominious ways: some families were sent to concentration camps in Mexico City and Guadalajara, while others were destroyed by the selective detention of hundreds of men in the Perote Prison, the forced sale of their property, and deportation. This book gives a partial account of the history and reprehensible treatment of the Japanese-Mexican community during World War II in Mexico. The task of narrating this story is so complex that it is necessary to incorporate interviews, legal documents, police reports, memoirs, poems, and short stories. All names have been changed, and while some situations are fictional, others are told in the first person by those affected to give the reader a human dimension.

The documents that served as the basis for this book can be found at the General Archives of the Nation of Mexico and the National Archives of the United States. However, oral histories are the cornerstone of this text. This story is also the work of Fidelia Takaki de Noriega, Eva Watanabe Matsuo, Rodolfo Nakamura Ortiz, the Tanaka Otsuko family, Raúl Hiromoto Yoshino, María Fujigaki Lechuga, and Susana Kobashi Sánchez, as well as the officials of various government departments who wrote the reports, memos, and certificates that appear in this volume.

“A moving story inserted with primary documents that challenge the official discourse through a chorus of voices that interweave in the life and death of the Japanese-Mexican community, especially its women. Images, poetry, and words disseminate a unique story.” –Lourdes Vázquez, author of Not Myself Without You

"In Silent Herons, Selfa Chew offers us a beautiful, polyphonic testimony, and strikes a balance, thanks to her art, among her own invention, documents, and oral histories. Based on true events, but it doesn't allow itself to be overwhelmed by them, nor does it seek to be a mere reconstruction of the past. The materials have been placed in their places: they are seamlessly intertwined." –Daniel Orizaga, author of Minuta: ensayos sobre literatura

"Selfa Chew searches holiday resorts that were jails for the remains of reality. Silent Herons is a complex work for its literary originality expressed in artistic form and language, and for the weight of events of more than fifty years ago that have rarely been examined." –Minerva Laveaga, executive director of BorderSenses

"Selfa Chew discovers and disseminates the history of the Japanese-Mexican community that has been erased from national historiography in order to fill the empty spaces of our history and reveal the partiality of hegemonic discourses and artifices." –Guadalupe Pérez-Anzaldo, University of Missouri.

 

 

     


     

    Steven Isn't Normal. By Marco A. Vasquez. ISBN:13: 978-1888205510 $22.95.

    Steven isn’t normal. But, then again, nobody is. Still, ask anyone, and they’d tell you that Steven is retarded--because he is. Steven is a retard by definition and by practice. Mostly, he is a retard by circumstance. It’s an epithet given to Steven by his community: his neighbors, his peers, his family. It is a title that has been embedded in his psyche--a designation that has dictated his absurd existence. This absurdity is exemplified by his determination to fulfill his quest: the killing of his mother. Steven is convinced that his mother is plotting the elimination of the one thing that Steven holds dear: his bottle collection--the hundreds of bottles, from which he has meticulously removed the labels--which he has perfectly sorted and aligned against a secluded wall near the railroad tracks. On his journey, Steven’s chaotic family history is revealed, as Steven encounters an array of grotesque characters that, in their efforts to reinforce the label that burdens Steven, they exhibit their own retardation that has been, until then, successfully camouflaged and ignored by their own complacency.

     

     


     

     

     

    The Strongest Passion. Luis Zapata. Clary Loisel, Ph.D. Translator from Spanish. ISBN:0-915745-76-3. $23.95.

    Using only dialogue as its narrative technique, Luis Zapata recounts the story of his protagonist Santiago, a middle-aged businessman hopelessly in love with Arturo, a 19-year-old teenager, who is the son of Sarita, his best friend. Through skillful and entertaining dialogues during their courtship, which continue once the conquest is achieved, the novel reflects the deep generational chasm between the characters. Santiago is the completely dedicated representative of that mythical first generation of gringos born in Mexico--but in a gay version--who cultivates values and pursues goals in life and who believes in the middle-class version of national progress through personal and individual commitment. Arturo, on the other hand, is the typical postmodern teenager: pragmatic, addicted to working out, hedonistic, vain to the point of being narcissistic, cynical to the point of being cruel, and materialistic to the point of accepting money as the only God. The personalities of each character are in stark contrast. Arturo is gossipy, smooth-tongued, biting in his commentaries, and as Santiago says to him: “too intelligent and very mature for his age.” Santiago is jealous and obsessive, as insecure as an adolescent, and already deeply worried about the imminent arrival of old age and the loss of being physically attractive to others.

     


     

     

    The Surrounding Sea. Robert Friedman. ISBN: 978-1495934742 $22.95

    This is a publication of Floricanto Press. The year is 2000 in Puerto Rico. Stevie Pérez and his girlfriend, Laura Rosario, have joined a student protest against the U.S. Navy’s bombing exercises that have caused illness, environmental damages and death on the offshore island of Vieques. The Riot Squad is called onto the campus to quell the protest and in the ensuing violence, Laura is hit by a stray bullet and killed. A grieving Stevie vows to keep Laura’s memory alive by creating a scholarship in her name. He is frustrated in attempts to get help in the community and decides to become a drug mule to obtain the scholarship money. After a few lucrative trips, he is set up in a drug theft. His 20-year-old life in danger, Stevie is forced to flee as the drug gang pursues him from the Bronx to San Juan to the mountain towns of Puerto Rico. Along the way, Stevie learns hard truths about life, love and loss.

     


    Suzanna. By Blea, Irene I. Yasmeen Namazie, editor. ISBN 978-1481021524. $15.95.

    At the time when young girls quickly grew up to become old women, young Suzanna was raised by her grandparents. They received a letter from Don Felipe Montoya asking for the child’s hand in marriage. Don Felipe, who was old enough to be her father agrees to the abuelito’s condition that he delays the wedding until she becomes a woman, or until her thirteenth birthday, which ever comes first. When the time came, the wedding took place in the northern New Mexico village church on a weekday with only the abuelitos in attendance. Thus, Suzanna became isolated on Don Felipe’s deteriorating prairie-ranch with her home-made rag doll, Cleotilda as her only friend. In two years Suzanna gives birth to two sons. The remoteness of the ranch is made worse by drought, failing live stock, Don Felipe’s silence, sternness, and sexual appetite. Economic hardship forces Felipe to seek work elsewhere. During his two-year absence, Suzanna successfully tends the farm, bonds with the two boys and wishes her husband never returns. He arrives to announce they are moving. Suzanna does not want to move, ensuing a conflict permeated by gender and cultural clashes, inequality, violence and asymmetry. Suzanna toughens her emotional self, and uses her wits to resolve an untenable situation.

    Dr. Irene I. Blea, the former Chairperson of the Department of Mexican American Studies at California State University-Los Angeles, is a native New Mexican born on top and the backside of a mountain. She has written of over thirty articles and seven text-books with an emphasis on Chicanos, Latinos and women. Her latest book is The Feminization of Racism: Promoting Peace in America. Her work has been referenced by researchers and used as required university classroom reading. She is an award winning scholar, a poet and a public speaker on racism and gender relations.

    “Suzanna was born in northeastern New Mexico before the territory became a state. The last child of a large Hispanic family she was raised by her grandparents because her parents feared they could not afford to rear her. She was much loved in her young life, and much used and abused. As she matured, she faced prospects she could not bear. Irene Blea, a native of Northern New Mexico, and a Ph. D. in Sociology, has the writing talent to tell Suzanna’s story in a most engaging way, and she leaves the reader wanting more. Suzanne is a truly outstanding first novel.” —Don Bullis, Award-winning author-Historian

    “Southwest literature has a powerful voice in Irene I. Blea. Her characters and story capture the soul of New Mexico. Blea’s riveting story goes to the heart of Hispanic family life in territorial New Mexico, where children are passed on to richer relatives, marriages are arranged at puberty, and the spirit world mixes with daily life.” —Rob Spiegel is the author of five non-fiction books and former President of the Southwest Writers.

    “A well written coming of age story of a young Spanish girl tossed into marital domesticity by her grandparents. It is filled with vividly captivating details that just entices you to read on.” —Sandra C. López, Author of Esperanza: A Latina Story.

     

     


     

     

    Tales from Alturas: The Puerto Rican Mystique. By Emma Chaves. ISBN: 978-1888205558. $22.95.

    The feisty mountain people of Alturas, in the Cordillera Central of Puerto Rico, scratch and claw to survive in their beloved but devastated patch of God-given earth. During the early 20th century one calamity after another has caused hunger and misery to hover over this beautiful Island and its amazingly resilient people. The colorful characters depicted in these compelling and unforgettable tales seek happiness by spreading rumors, creating tales, accessing the spirit world, even seeing the sudden apparition of a loved one. Somehow, they must pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and continue to trudge forward with dreams and hope. “Without dreams,” Lola tells her daughter, “it’s impossible to live.” The author has created a unique world in which universal themes, such as romance, love and loss, love for one’s family and for one’s homeland are pursued, as well as themes more specific to some groups than to others, such as machismo and discrimination.  

     


     

     

     

    Tina Modotti's Mexico: A Tale of Love & Revolution. Bonnie Hayman. ISBN: 0-915745-40-2. $29.95. Hardbound.

    Hayman situates Tina Modotti (1896-1942) profoundly within her social period from her 1913 emigration to San Francisco to a full-fledged member of the intellectual wing of the Mexican Communist Party. She is one of the most important contemporary women of Mexico. She became the lover of Cuban revolutionary Julio Antonio Mella and when he was murdered, Modotti became the main suspect. When a failed assassination attempt was made against the Mexican president, Pascual Ortiz Rubio, she was accused and deported.

    She returned to Mexico many years later and lived alone in a small cottage until her mysterious death in a taxi at age 46. Octavio Paz claimed that Tina Modotti belonged “more to the history of passions than to the history of ideologies,” Hayman propounds that Modotti lived a full life of her own choice, and that politics, ideology, and history were never paramount to her own personal life—an indescribable story of fame, style, gossip and turmoil.

     


     

     

     

    The Tortilla Maker: A Social and Historic Mexican American Narrative. Jesús Ignacio Loreto de Arvizu. ISBN:13: 978-1500739874. $24.95

     

    Ignacia Arvizu, a strong-willed Mexican teenager lost her father, a wealthy cattleman. Bandidos murdered him and stole the family fortune including all personal possessions; he left behind only an empty hacienda. Ignacia’s mother became destitute and had no choice but to find homes for her bright and attractive daughters. In 1913, Ignacia reluctantly entered--forced by her desperate mother--into an arranged marriage to an older, prosperous rancher in Sonora, Mexico. Ignacia, affectionately called Nana by her grandchildren, fought her abusive husband to protect her five children, among them Ramona, the author’s mother. Nana’s husband suddenly died of pneumonia leaving her once again destitute and now with five small children of her own. Nana--determined to find a better life--walked over a hundred miles with her children in tow for weeks, to reach the nearest city. This brave and exciting memoir recounts Nana’s, her daughter Ramona’s, and (Ramona’s son) the author Jesus’s amazing journey from third-world poverty to American prosperity.

     

     

     


     

     

    Twitching Heart. Méndez, Matt .Edited by Yasmeen Namazie and Genevieve Miller. ISBN 978-1480257023. $17.95.

    This is exactly how a winning debut should read—fluid and raw, redemptive and inevitable. Underneath the humor runs a gifted storyteller’s nuanced take on the paradox of the outsider. A triumphant first swing from one of the new stars in the next generation of Chicano lit. --Manuel Muñoz, author of What You See in the Dark

    Méndez’s stories emerge out of the gritty and working-class barrios of El Paso. At times gesturing towards the magical realism south of the border, his characters struggle to carve out a piece of the “American Dream,” but the difficulties they endure often leave them speechless. This is where Méndez’s strength as a writer is most visible. While his characters struggle to find the right words, he does not. His prose is restrained, his metaphors apt, and his details are damn near perfect. The desert might be unforgiving, but Méndez is able to impart a degree of grace into his stories without resorting to sentimentality. One of the sharpest young writers in the Southwest, he gives voice to a region that has remained on the periphery of American literature for far too long. His will be a career to watch closely. --D. Seth Horton, Series Editor, New Stories from the Southwest and Series Co-Editor, Best of the West: New Stories from the Wide Side of the Missouri

    El Paso is at the center of the new map of the West. Matt Méndez writes from, and about, Chuco's heart. --Dagoberto Gilb, author of Before the End, After the Beginning

    Born in El Paso (Chuco), TX Matt Méndez joined after the Air Force after graduating high school and after four years of active duty moved to Tucson, AZ where he works as an aircraft technician. He attended Pima Community College and the University of Arizona where he graduated magna cum laude with a B.A in Media Arts. He went on to earn an MFA from the University of Arizona where he has taught fiction and other writing courses. Matt Méndez has been a speaker for Pima Community College’s Adelante Program, a program designed to help Chicanos earn college degrees, a community organizer working with teachers from TUSDs banned MAS curriculum, and a facilitator of creative writing workshops with Tucson youth. He also reviews books for the El Paso Times and currently lives in Tucson with his wife and daughter.

     


     

     

    Unamuno: A Lyrical Essay. Pedro Blas González. ISBN: 978-0-915745-75-3. $22.95.

    The most extraordinary and exemplary piece of Latino prose writing, bordering in Rational lyricism. Scholarship and art in Europe, traditionally crisscrossed each other, particularly when the brightest minds where at it. Germany has Goethe, the Hispanic world has Unamuno. Both were consummated philosophers and creative writers, who left indelible marks, both in culture and philosophical argumentation. Goethe's "Werther" is credited with initiating Romanticism in Europe. "El Sentido Trágico de La Vida" ponders the ever-present human (and Hispanic) preoccupation for life, death and beyond, immortality. However, it takes a Latino scholar to analyze, scaffold, and present in a very understandable way to us the grandiosity of Unamuno's philosophical concerns and his scrupulous argumentation. Dr. Pedro Blas González is the first Latino scholar to elaborate and deconstruct Unamuno's philosophical work and related creative writings. This is a work lyric prose, as well as of literary criticism, philosophical analysis, and pure rigorous Latino erudition advancing Hispanic thinking. Roberto Cabello-Argandoña, Editor.

     

     


     

     

    Under A Dark Sun. By Robert Friedman. ISBN 978-1-888205-26-8. $17.95.

    Crime, corruption and colonialism converge both satirically and tragically in Under a Dark Sun, set on the Caribbean island of Colón. Located on author Robert Friedman's literary map in the Lesser Antilles, the Hispanic island is not far from Puerto Rico. After Sara Vázquez returns to Colón, the island of her birth, hoping to find a place she can truly call home, she witnesses a murder. Sara is soon caught in the underside of life on the island. She turns to Nick Ortiz, who covers the police beat for the English-language newspaper. Nick, who has come to Colón to escape an earlier life of poverty, drugs, alcohol and a failed marriage, is drawn to Sara and her plight, and together they go up against the conspiracies and deceit that increasingly menace Sara's life. Interspersed with Sara's narrative is the story of Ted Iglesias, a young, ambitious politician who wants to lead his people out of their colonial morass into a better life.

     


     

     

    The Unfortunate Passion of Hermann Broch. José María Pérez Gay. Dr. Eduardo Jiménez, Translator. ISBN: 978-0-9796457-3-0. $22.95.

    Having earned its author, José María Pérez Gay, the Austrian Cross of Honor for Arts and Sciences (first class), this acclaimed, concise biography focuses on novelist Hermann Broch's preoccupation with his Austrian-Jewish heritage and examines his obsession with human morality, social and moral decadence and mass psychology, specifically, in relation to the tragic historical events of the first half of the twentieth century. In contrast to Franz Kafka's worldwide fame, the effect that Broch (and his colleague Robert Musil) had on the literary world outside Central Europe has remained, until quite recently, rather unappreciated.

    At the root of his profound literary achievement is his analytical clairvoyance concerning the crisis of values that would culminate in the ignominious catastrophes of the Second World War.

     


       

       


       

       

       

      Valley Rising: A South-Texan’s Journey from the Migratory Fields to Successful Eye Surgeon. Gilberto Aguirre, M.D. ISBN 13: 978-1888205503 $25.95.

      This is a joint publication of Floricanto and Berkeley Presses.

      This is a powerful reflection—of a sincere man dedicated to the betterment of his Mexican American people—on the very deep, personal, structural and historical root causes of segregation and its dehumanizing effects. A personal and intimate story of the life of Gilberto Aguirre growing from infant to successful physician. From living in the barrio to a respectful neighborhood, you meet his family, friends, teachers, coaches and fellow workers that make up his multiply divided world of many social, economic and racial tensions. You experience the agonies and the joys, the frustrations and dreams, the painful insults and encouraging moments, and most of all the hard work fueled by the deep commitment to overcome the inferiority complex by achieving success without losing his Mexican American soul.

       


       

      WaterThe Water of Life Remains in the Dead. By Maria Nieto. Leyla Namazie, Editor. ISBN 9781888205596. $19.95.

      This is a joint publication of Floricanto and Berkeley Presses.

      Maria Nieto’s newest novel treats the reader to a fast paced drama told with grit and undercoated with humor. The story, set in 1971, is centered on the canny, spirited and charming Los Angeles Times reporter, Alejandra Marisol. Alejandra displays relentless tenacity as she delves into the bowels of corrupt city politics, shady real-estate transactions, and an overbearing Archdiocese to fish out the truth surrounding unspeakable crimes using the art of deduction and forensic science. While the story clearly demonstrates that the present is inextricably tied to the past, it does not let us forget that ordinary people have the ability to override the power of history to shape destiny.

     


     

     

    Words of Power: Adages, Axioms and Aphorisms. By Ramón del Valle-Inclán. Translated with commentary by Robert Lima. ISBN 978-1484876022. $20.95.

    Words of Power collects the ingenious adages, axioms and aphorisms culled from Ramón del Valle-Inclán’s plays, novels, poems, stories, interviews, letters and aesthetic treatises. Valle-Inclán lived a full and social life in which he interacted and influenced many writers, painters and composers of his period through his verbal and written wisdom. His insights into life and Art are gathered in Words of Power, together with illustrations of the man and his works. These have been collected and translated by the internationally-known writer, Robert Lima.

    “ . . . the writings of Valle-Inclán ought to be engraved in enduring letters, in large clear letters on impressive folios, letters that would permit the appreciation of the exactness and delicacy of phrasing, the marvelous way of narrating beautiful things without recourse to artifice or base devices.” Juan Ramón Jiménez, Spanish Nobel Prize Winner.

    “ . . . the copious anecdotes of his (Valle-Inclán’s) life will be used … to cast light on the depths of his personality.” Antonio Machado, Poet of Spain’s “Generation of 1898.”

    “Through his beautiful and poetic stage directions, Valle-Inclán has given us a lesson in theatre technique . . . we can place the most fundamental staging techniques at the disposal of his magnificent words, the eloquent words which Valle-Inclán casts before us from the stage with a vigor and sonority which few dramatists anywhere have achieved.” José Tamayo, Theatre Director, Spain.

    “Some people are capable of thinking of two things at once, but only Galicians are capable of thinking about three.” Salvador de Madariaga Spanish Philosopher and Critic.

    Robert Lima is Professor Emeritus of Spanish and Comparative Literatures at The Pennsylvania State University, as well as Fellow Emeritus of the Institute for the Arts and Humanistic Studies; Academician, Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española; Corresponding Member of the Real Academia Española. He has been honored as an initiate of Enxebre Orden da Vieira, and was dubbed Knight Commander (Encomienda de Número) in the Orden de Isabel la Católica by His Majesty King Juan Carlos I of Spain.

     


     

     



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