Books by Charles M. Tatum

Released: Dec. 22, 1992

Fiction, poetry, and essays in an anthology of limited appeal to the general reader but maybe of special note—because of its linguistic code-switching—to those interested in the Chicano cultural movement. InÇs Hern†ndez switches back and forth between English and Spanish in a long poem that, for bilingual readers, effectively presents a feminist critique of the Movement. Miguel MÇndez's punningly titled ``Ledras y latrillos/Bricks and Belles Ladders'' offers a metafictional narration: Centuries of Spanish literary heritage show their influence on a Chicano construction worker/writer; his language ranges from the baroque and medieval to standard Spanish to pages written in the Panchuco slang of the 1950's—a treasure trove for linguists and those who know the lingo, of much less interest to those who must read the accompanying English translation. Among the essays, Pat Mora's celebration of museums reads like a high-school assignment; Joel Huerta's ``Gardenia'' is a quiet yet powerful refutation of Reagan's condemnation of government programs as he shows how LBJ's programs brought his family into a ``decent, not a `Great' society.'' Good stories by Rowena Rivera and Margarita Tavera Rivera appear in both Spanish and English. In English, Dagoberto Gilb and Ed Ch†vez write of decent, hard-working men who reduce their desires to almost nothing—and can't keep that either. Inexplicably, the anthology includes six poems about the Canary Islands, by Emilia Paredes, an author of Peruvian descent. Tatum commendably sought writers who did not appear in New Chicana/Chicano Writing 1 but could surely have found stronger work for an anthology this brief. (Cf. Ray Gonz†lez's Mirrors Beneath the Earth, p. 1147.) Read full book review >