These 27 Mexican short stories explore deep currents of emotion in polished writing and inventive storytelling. With the exceptions of Carlos Fuentes, Elena Poniatowska, and Paco Ignacio Taibo, the authors will probably be unfamiliar to American readers. Corona publisher Bowen and Mexican magazine editor Ascencio intersperse psychological studies with political tales, and most of the stories set the personal in the larger context of Mexico's simmering stew of races, classes, and regions. In ""The Dice Box"" by Emilio Carballido, a poor man uses daring and intelligence to turn his desperate plan to raise cash into a successful trick on a rich politician. Carlos Fuentes is at home with the complex inner life of an elderly aristocrat in ""The Mandarin,"" which depicts a cosmopolitan (in his youth he was photographed with Cole Porter) and aesthete (in his house there is an entirely white bedroom) who has spent his life loving one woman from afar. As the protagonist rages against the moral and ecological pollution of Mexico City, his eccentricities attract the living symbols of his loathing, with violent results. Severino Salazar writes an especially moving tale in ""Jesus, May Thy Joy Be Everlasting,"" which vividly describes a young couple absorbed in their love, the magic the woman, a singer/dancer, creates for her audience -- and the melodramatic end of their innocence. Sergio Pitol's ""The Panther"" tells the oblique story of two dreams, separated by 20 years, that offer ephemeral insight into unspoken mysteries. In the beautiful ""Little Mister Chair-man"" by David Martin del Campo, a disabled boy offers his unique view of the world as seen from his wheelchair. Biting political commentary marks Eraclio Zepeda's ""The Truth,"" about the stringent price one man pays for his integrity in the face of unreasoning oppression. In ""Winter Will Never End"" by Marco Antonio Campos, a journalist finds courage when he refuses to stop reporting on political torture despite the especially subtle punishment that awaits him. A leisurely exploration of contemporary Mexico's luxuriant writing.