Days of Obligation: 2an Argument with My Mexican Father

Richard Rodriguez, Author Viking Books $21 (240p) ISBN 978-0-670-81396-4
An explorer of cultural identity, Rodriguez builds on his acclaimed memoir Hunger of Memory with 10 luminous, loosely linked essays on the tensions and cross-pollinations of race, religion and geography in Californians of Mexican descent. For Rodriguez, a middle-age Californian of Mexican heritage and of self-described Indian mien, Mexico City's miscegenation makes it the capital of modernity. America's immigrant culture implies not motherhood but adoption, and the growth of evangelical Protestantism among California's Hispanic population suggests a longing for some lost Catholic village. No apostle of political correctness, Rodriguez muses on his state's heritage and concludes, We are all bandits, for the U.S. stole California from Mexico, which stole the land from Spain, which stole it from the Indians. Rodriguez's autobiographical style sometimes reveals too little, as in an essay on gay life in San Francisco, but his insights, irony and descriptions (Tijuana is Disney Calcutta) make the writing richly evocative. However, the book would have gained power had Rodriguez tried harder to thread the essays into a sustained narrative. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-14-009622-4
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Compact Disc - 7 pages - 978-1-4708-8785-8
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-7861-3948-4
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