THE MAGIC OF BLOOD by Dagoberto Gilb

THE MAGIC OF BLOOD

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Twenty-six stories (eight previously published in Winners on the Pass Line, 1985--not reviewed) offering a frank, sympathetic view of working-class Chicanos in the Southwest. Many of these vignettes are set in Los Angeles, the author's birthplace--a world of freeways, building sites, and the myriad small miseries of those who eke out an uncertain existence in the construction trades. Workingmen are battered and often unemployed but stoic, like the family man in ``Look on the Bright Side'' who fights his landlady in court when she raises his rent illegally, refusing to be outwitted even in the face of eviction. Or they are resourceful in other ways, as in ``Churchgoers,'' where a construction worker keeps a low profile to avoid the building superintendent, who lets men go at the slightest provocation, until he meets his match in a street-wise killer named Smooth, who dares him to lay him off. Other scenarios include a comic encounter in Arizona between a tight-lipped but dedicated mechanic and a fussing, worried car-owner (``Al, in Phoenix''); a moment of salvation when two troubled strangers meet across a crap-table in Vegas and come away both wiser and richer (``Winners on the Pass Line''); and the title story, in which generations and distant relations of a family living on both sides of the border are bonded together by the magic of a great-grandmother's Hollywood address. Honest and sharply focused in portraying the dreams and realities of Mexican Americans today: Gilb's tales are best when depicting tradesmen at work and at play, but otherwise the magic is fleeting and slight.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-8263-1436-8
Page count: 300pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1993




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