MIRRORS BENEATH THE EARTH by Ray Gonzalez

MIRRORS BENEATH THE EARTH

Short Fiction by Chicano Writers
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Thirty-one stories cover territory on both sides of the border, and show Mexican-American writers rooted in the culture on both sides of the hyphen. Some familiar subjects--gangbangers, barrio poverty, curanderos, Luis Alberto Urrea's fine, humorous magic realism--but the selections also expand predictable horizons. The protagonist of Dagoberto Gilb's story will be as recognizable to Anglo readers as a Raymond Carver antihero. Alberto Alvaro R°os offers a poignant, poetic, at times startling tale of a huge butcher's loneliness. Alma Villanueva skillfully brings myth into her brief story of Mexico City street-children. ``The Man Who Found A Pistol''--a stark tale of destiny--is an excellent choice from Rudolfo Anaya. The interpenetration of cultures shows up often: Leroy V. Quintana's singing car-mechanic segues naturally from ``BÇsame Mucho'' to ``Your Cheating Heart,'' while Ana Castillo has a more critical view of her place in America: the narrator of ``Subtitles'' feels she lives inside a foreign film (sometimes ``the locals have cultivated a certain taste for'' her accent while she must ``continue inventing and reinventing my roles...for the sake of your entertainment''). Benjamin Alire S†enz quietly demolishes stereotypes of machismo while telling a political story: his house-husband narrator interviews Central American refugees who need help from his lawyer-wife. Some stories (notably Ray Gonz†les's ``The Ghost of John Wayne,'' Jack L¢pez's ``La Luz'') start with fine writing and interesting premises but fail to reach satisfactory ends. Uneven quality (as in most such anthologies), but perhaps the best of recent compilations of Chicano (and Latino) fiction.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 1-880684-02-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Curbstone Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1992




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