Star of Luis

Marc Talbert, Author, Mark Talbert, Author Clarion Books $15 (192p) ISBN 978-0-395-91423-6
It's December 1941 in East Los Angeles, and Lu s's world turns topsy-turvy in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. First his father joins the army, then his mother takes him for the first time to his parents' tiny New Mexico hometown so she can see her dying father. Life in the isolated village of Las Manos differs dramatically from what Lu s is used to: there's no electricity or running water and, unlike his old multiethnic neighborhood, everyone here is Mexican and Catholic. Or at least that's what he thinks until his mother's brother, Solom n, a priest, tells him the secret that their family has been keeping for 350 years: they are Jews. ""How could he, Lu s, look like a Mexican and be a Jew? It seemed impossible--like being a girl and a boy at the same time."" When he returns to East L.A., Lu s struggles to reconcile his mixed heritage, played out as he vacillates between his best friends, Mexican Eduardo and Jewish Stan. With characteristic intensity, Talbert's (Heart of a Jaguar) story builds to a climax as Eduardo and Lu s nervously prepare to enter a synagogue with Stan, but the story abruptly stops there and leaves readers hanging. The lack of resolution is a disappointing end to an otherwise engrossing tale about a little-known subject. Includes Spanish glossary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
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