NARANJO THE MUSE by Omar S. Castañeda

NARANJO THE MUSE

A Collection of Stories
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Magical-realist metafictional tricks effectively enliven this collection of cleverly interconnected stories from the Latino author of Among the Volcanoes (1991) and Abuela's Weave (1993). A sexually restless literature professor, the eponymous Dr. Naranjo, experiences a kind of compound delirium while romancing a willing woman student--as does, in a parallel story, his counterpart, one Omar Casta§eda. It soon becomes clear that we're observing how a writer deals with the frustrations and confusions of his own life by reshaping it into fiction: fictions, as it happens, for this urbanely self-reflexive volume repeatedly recasts the same essential details in varying fictional forms. Among the liveliest are ``The Grackle,'' in which a housewife is harassed and enlightened by a talking bird with a broken wing (a creature that seems derivative of Malamud's ``The Jewbird,'' but let that go), and a trio of stories about maternal bereavement producing a spectrum of responses from combative anger through symbolic transcendence. An unusually imaginative and charming book.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1997
ISBN: 1-55885-192-5
Page count: 177pp
Publisher: Arte Público
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1997




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