New Chicano Fiction
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 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