The Underside of Stones: A Story Cycle

George Szanto, Author
George Szanto, Author HarperCollins Publishers $17.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-06-016246-7
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
Playwright, critic and novelist Szanto ( Not Working ) captures the magic of rural Mexico, ``a country outside time,'' in this group of linked tales narrated by George, a North American writer mourning his dead wife. He retreats to the rugged Mexican mountain town of Michoacuaro, whose inhabitants affectionately christen him Jorge, the ``gringo.'' Drinking and swapping yarns with the locals, Jorge brings forth good-humored, haunting, sometimes violent tales of a region enthralled by its past. Recurring characters include the elderly street cleaner Moises de Jesus, who dies but nevertheless returns to chat with Jorge in ``The Sweeper''; and the madwoman Sylvia Loca, smiling oddly when the body of a lascivious old moneylender turns up on the church steps (``Salome''). Particularly memorable is Ali Cran, a genial rancher who once swallowed a scorpion's head (``How Ali Cran Got His Name''); grew three tails--one furry, one sharp, one fleshy (``Nagual''); keeps two beautiful wives (``The Edge of the Mind''); and, in the title story, talks with Jorge about Mexican poetry and the spirit world. As Jorge becomes more deeply immersed in the lore of the Michoacuaro, he is gradually healed of grief and loss. (Apr.)
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X