DOMINOE by Jack Agüeros


and Other Stories
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 Playwright and children's writer AgÅeros offers a memorable portrait gallery of ordinary--though thoroughly individualized- -Puerto Rican New Yorkers; two of these eight well-crafted stories were previously published in Latino journals. Here are some of the expected, common images of Puerto Rican life--the men playing dominoes on the street, the young boy working in the family bodega, the hopeful entrepreneur selling food in the park--but there are more unusual characters, too, such as Vazquez, the horologist seen at work repairing antique clocks in a Greenwich Village shop. In each case, AgÅeros provides enough detail (without getting bogged down in minutiae) to capture the flavor and texture of daily life. In the quiet, poignant ``One Sunday Morning,'' a young boy loses first place in his godmother's life when she takes in the daughter left behind by a neighbor's suicide. And in ``Malig; Malig & Sal; Sal,'' a single mother, looking a man who can get her out of the projects, decides to break up with her suddenly impractical lover, Sal; college seems to have affected Sal's brain the wrong way and made him crazy; then, after violence erupts, a neighborhood junkie proves his knowledge of street medicine, keeping his injured friend Sal away from hospitals and the police. For his point of departure, AgÅeros often takes a character or situation so familiar as to border on stereotype, but in his hands, these small tales lead the reader to a deeper sense of recognition. Studies of character and community in the realist mode, told with quiet humor, without sensationalism or sentimentality.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 1-880684-11-X
Page count: 145pp
Publisher: Curbstone Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1993