Enchiladas, Rice, and Beans

Daniel Reveles, Author Ballantine Books $19 (276p) ISBN 978-0-345-38426-3
So close to the border that a gusty wind will send Sra. Mendoza's laundry flying illegally into the U.S., Tecate, Mexico, is a dusty little town where a group of regulars meet on the square to swap stories and watch life stroll by. ``I live behind the adobe curtain and I bring you a plate full of chismes. In your country you call them tales.'' In his debut story collection, this filmmaker and citizen of Tecate, describes small-town life in a place where ``what goes up stays up and water runs uphill.'' But the author wisely steers away from magic realism and concentrates instead on the charm and eccentricities of the characters. In ``Of Time and Circumstances,'' a harried Los Angeles filmmaker longs to meet the funny, erudite attorney, ``El Gato,'' who's helping him buy land in Tecate. But when he finally gets to town, no one will let him meet the man. Mysterious circumstances in ``The Miracle'' have a number of ranchers wondering why their workers aren't showing up for work and why they're dressed entirely in new clothes. In ``The Other Woman,'' submissive Claudia mourns her husband's waning attentions until she gets some tips from the other woman. As surprising as some of the stories are, they don't match the wit and spark of the book's prologue and epilogue; many of the characters are two-dimensional, and several stories run out of steam. Still, Reveles certainly has a way with words and needs just a little practice to perfect his chismes. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/15/1994
Release date: 08/01/1994
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 978-0-345-91102-5
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