PIECES OF THE HEART by Gary Soto

PIECES OF THE HEART

New Chicano Fiction
edited by
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Poet and YA author Soto rounds up the usual suspects--along with some impressive new voices--in what may be the best Chicano short fiction anthology to date. Sandra Cisneros is represented with ``One Holy Night'' from her widely read collection Woman Hollering Creek (1991); Alberto Alvaro R°os's ``The Waltz of the Fat Man'' was anthologized in last year's Mirrors Beneath the Earth (ed. Ray Gonz†lez); Ana Castillo contributes a chapter from her novel So Far From God (see above); and Dagoberto Gilb satisfies with ``Hollywood!''--previously published in 1987 by Fiction Network. Of the 15 selections, however, more than half appear here for the first time: Edna Escamill offers a touching account of a hungry family going to mass because bread will be distributed to the poor; Jack L¢pez is both tough and tender writing about a young man soon to serve 30 days for car theft; V°ctor Mart°nez takes the reader into the chili- pepper fields and through an immigration raid as his young protagonist tries to earn money for a baseball glove; ``The Jumping Bean,'' by the little known and abundantly talented Helena Mar°a Viramontes, packs a wallop with the painful story of a broken man with a ``relentless back'' and ``fingers like swollen live wires too dangerous to touch'' who keeps working to support his nervously afflicted wife and houseful of children--including Mar°a, the oldest (who gets slapped for understanding and reacting to English- language insults), and ``the young girl'' who watches everything, frightened and entrapped, but still managing to love. A few beauties and no real clunkers, though some stories are interesting mostly for cultural perspective. Soto contributes a graceful and affectionate introduction.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-8118-0068-7
Page count: 179pp
Publisher: Chronicle
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1993