It would almost seem that the Gitanos and Gitanas, or male and female gipsies, had been sent into the world for the sole purpose of thieving. Born of parents who are thieves, reared among thieves, and educated as thieves, they finally go forth perfected in their vocation, accomplished at all points, and ready for every species of roguery. In them the love of thieving, and the ability to exercise it, are qualities inseparable from their existence, and never lost until the hour of their death.
Death calls on a regular basis in this first installment of Hinojosa’s acclaimed Klail City Death Trip Series. Jehú Malacara was seven when his mother died and nine when his father passed. He has family, but it’s Don Víctor Peláez who takes him in and makes him an integral part of the Peláez Tent Show. When la muerte comes for Don Víctor, Jehú is orphaned again. Others die in bar room brawls, in a clandestine amorous tryst at the local Holiday Inn and on the street.
Hinojosa paints his canvas with a montage of life’s events—births, weddings, friendships and love affairs—but his brushwork all too frequently highlights the discrimination experienced by Mexican Americans. They lose their land to Anglos, are paid with rotten fruit for their labor and are refused admission to certain cafes. But life goes on. Young men go to war and old men remember their wars, whether the Mexican Revolution, World War II or the Korean War.
This classic novel was originally published in the early 1970s as Estampas del Valle and in the early 1980s as The Valley. Rolando Hinojosa’s Klail City Death Trip Series is required reading for anyone interested in life along the Texas-Mexico border in the twentieth century.
Acclaimed Salvadoran writer Mario Bencastro examines themes of war, dislocation, and longing in this bilingual collection of stories, poetry, and one novella. Many of his characters are forced to leave their homelands because of violence and poverty. But once in the Promised Land, separated from family and friends and in a country whose language and culture they don't understand, many find themselves overwhelmed by feelings of loss and nostalgia.
In “Dragon Boy,” a group of children orphaned by El Salvador's civil war band together to survive, even as they are exploited by predators. In “The Plan,” a successful Swiss millionaire returns to his native El Salvador—which he left as a defenseless orphan—and executes his ruthless plan to take revenge on those responsible for the brutal killings of his family. And in “From Australia with Love,” a Salvadoran émigré plans to marry a countryman she met on the Internet, until they realize that they have met before.
Readers will not soon forget Bencastro's moving images fueled by the horrible realities of war and the painful need to leave behind all that is dear.