QUEEN OF AMERICA by Luis Alberto Urrea

Like its predecessor, THE HUMMINGBIRD’S DAUGHTER, Urrea’s sequel, QUEEN OF AMERICA is a panoramic, picaresque, sprawling, sweeping novel that dazzles us with epic destiny, perilous twists, and high romance, set primarily in Industrial era America (and six years in the author’s undertaking). Based on Urrea’s real ancestry, this historical fiction combines family folklore with magical realism and Western adventure at the turn of the twentieth century.

November 30, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: California, Facing History, italy, Latin American/Caribbean, Mexico, NE & New York, New Orleans, New York City, Texas, United Kingdom, US Southwest, Washington, D.C., Wild West

BEFORE THE END, AFTER THE BEGINNING by Dagoberto Gilb

Dagoberto Gilb’s latest book, BEFORE THE END, AFTER THE BEGINNING, although a slight collection, is loaded with insight and humor. It’s a book about identity, about the tension between limiting factors outside our control– our race, our class, our gender – and our complexity as individuals.

November 9, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Humorous, Latin American/Caribbean, Mexico, Short Stories, Texas, y Award Winning Author

THE MADONNAS OF ECHO PARK by Brando Skyhorse

The silent, overlooked residents of Los Angeles’ Echo Park neighborhood play the starring role in author Brando Skyhorse’s debut, THE MADONNAS OF ECHO PARK. The novel, really more of a collection of short stories, each narrated by a different character, presents to the reader different facets of both the Mexican and Mexican-American experience in multicultural Los Angeles. Skyhorse, winner of the 2011 PEN/Hemingway Award for this novel, was born and raised in Echo Park.

June 23, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, California, Class - Race - Gender, Debut Novel, Latin American/Caribbean, PEN/Hemingway Winner, Reading Guide, Short Stories

DESTINY AND DESIRE by Carlos Fuentes

Wow! This quotation should indicate why I both reveled in this rich and wonderful book and yet had such trouble getting through it. It was my first Fuentes, and may or may not be typical of his earlier style, but it is original, gloriously baroque, and alarmingly dense.

January 30, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Latin American/Caribbean, Mexico, Translated, World Lit

HELIOPOLIS by James Scudamore

The main character in James Scudamore’s novel HELIOPOLIS is twenty-seven-year-old Ludo. Born in terrible poverty in a Sao Paulo Favela (shantytown), Ludo and his mother had the good fortune to come to the attention of Rebecca, the British, charity-minded wife of one of the city’s richest businessmen, Zeno (Zé) Generoso. Zé and Rebecca, who have one daughter, Melissa, formally adopted Ludo, and he has a privileged upbringing which comes with a price; he’s constantly reminded of his humble beginnings, his good fortune and how much he owes to his benefactors. Separated from his mother who remains as the cook at Zé’s country estate, Ludo has no self-identity. His life is shaped by the desires of the Generoso family, and while he may be the adopted son, he’s little more than a trained house-serf.

November 12, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Brazil, Class - Race - Gender, Latin American/Caribbean, Reading Guide, World Lit

THE INVISIBLE MOUNTAIN by Carolina de Robertis

THE INVISIBLE MOUNTAIN is a gem of a novel, grounded in actual history, with a dollop of magical realism, a splash of Dickensian coincidence, with some forbidden romance and political intrigue added to the mix.

The novel opens at the turn of the 20th century in a remote Uruguayan village, when a baby is spirited away and then reappears, a year later, unharmed in the branches of a tree. The young one is named Pajarita – translated to little bird – and the narrative, divided into three sections, sequentially focuses on her, her daughter Eva, and her granddaughter Salome.

October 9, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Debut Novel, Facing History, Latin American/Caribbean, Reading Guide, South America