Acquiring full force in the context of the story cycle to which they gave birth, Estampas del Valle/The Valley are essential...

THE VALLEY / ESTAMPAS DEL VALLE

Reissue, in one volume, of the stories that inaugurated Hinojosa’s (Creative Writing/Univ. of Texas) long-running Klail City Death Trip series.

Set along the Mexican border in South Texas, the series has a title that echoes Michael Lesy’s book about faraway Wisconsin, while its epic ambition seems to owe to William Faulkner, Gabriel García Márquez and Edgar Lee Masters in roughly equal measure. As Arte Público publisher Nicolás Kanellos notes in his too-brief but illuminating foreword, it is one of the foundational texts of Chicano literature, curious publishing history and all: Estampas del valle appeared in Spanish in 1972 and was published in English, much revised and reorganized, as The Valley in 1983, even as the series was moving forward, conjuring Hinojosa’s fictitious Belken County into being. In these and the other 20-odd installments of what Kanellos shorthands as KCDT, Hinojosa limns a realistic—and, unusually for its time, not magical realistic, either—world of imagined small towns such as Relámpago (lightning) and Jonesville-on-the-Rio, where everyone knows everyone else. That familiarity, of course, doesn’t prevent bad things from happening: Confesses one young man, “I killed Ernesto Tamez, and I did it right there at the Aquí me quedo....He’s laid out there somewhere.” So speaks Balde Cordero from the workhouse, owning up to his part in a crime of passion that, really, is very ordinary in this place, where friends love and kill each other. Hinojosa’s text is full of the casual wisdom that people in small towns will offer (“God’s truth it is when it’s claimed that nicknames are powerful friends or enemies; I mean, they’ll sweep names and characters away”), and it is as revealing of the odd politics of rural Texas life as John Nichols’ later, and much more lighthearted, Milagro Beanfield War was on northern New Mexico.

Acquiring full force in the context of the story cycle to which they gave birth, Estampas del Valle/The Valley are essential texts for students of borderlands and Mexican-American literature.

Pub Date: April 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55885-787-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Arte Público

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

ANIMAL FARM

A FAIRY STORY

A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

Did you like this book?

Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • National Book Award Finalist

  • Pulitzer Prize Winner

ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE

Doerr presents us with two intricate stories, both of which take place during World War II; late in the novel, inevitably, they intersect.

In August 1944, Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a blind 16-year-old living in the walled port city of Saint-Malo in Brittany and hoping to escape the effects of Allied bombing. D-Day took place two months earlier, and Cherbourg, Caen and Rennes have already been liberated. She’s taken refuge in this city with her great-uncle Etienne, at first a fairly frightening figure to her. Marie-Laure’s father was a locksmith and craftsman who made scale models of cities that Marie-Laure studied so she could travel around on her own. He also crafted clever and intricate boxes, within which treasures could be hidden. Parallel to the story of Marie-Laure we meet Werner and Jutta Pfennig, a brother and sister, both orphans who have been raised in the Children’s House outside Essen, in Germany. Through flashbacks we learn that Werner had been a curious and bright child who developed an obsession with radio transmitters and receivers, both in their infancies during this period. Eventually, Werner goes to a select technical school and then, at 18, into the Wehrmacht, where his technical aptitudes are recognized and he’s put on a team trying to track down illegal radio transmissions. Etienne and Marie-Laure are responsible for some of these transmissions, but Werner is intrigued since what she’s broadcasting is innocent—she shares her passion for Jules Verne by reading aloud 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A further subplot involves Marie-Laure’s father’s having hidden a valuable diamond, one being tracked down by Reinhold von Rumpel, a relentless German sergeant-major.

Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4658-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more