Mexican Bolero

Angeles Mastretta, Author, Ann Wright, Translator Viking Books $19.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-670-81885-3
This captivating first novel by Mexico City journalist Mastretta spans the years after the Revolution of 1911 when a succession of rival leaders--e.g., Carranza, Obregon, Zapata--as well as the generals, trade unionists, and peasants settled their differences with bloodshed. In this tumultuous milieu, the novel's high-spirited heroine, Catalina Guzman, age 15, is seduced, charmed and married by the dashingly arrogant 35-year-old General Andres Ascencio. He installs her in a house in Puebla and enlists her to campaign for him. Once elected governor, Andres puts Cati in charge of charities, from orphans to prisoners. She bears two children and learns about her husband's other life--his infidelities, his smiling hypocrisy and cruelty, his reputation as a killer to further his fortunes. But Cati herself, as Andres puts it, is strong enough to have been a politician ``if she were a man.'' At last Cati seizes control of her fate with a move that brings the story to a stunning denouement. Mastretta ably documents the period's strife, managing the hard-edged realism of her subject wth a tone of cynical whimsy. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1990
Release date: 07/01/1990
Paperback - 267 pages - 978-0-14-010417-2
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