Omar S. Castaaneda, Author Pineapple Press $14.95 (228p) ISBN 978-0-910923-43-9
Like a shaman or snake, this strange, awkward first novel both mesmerizes and repels. When their babies turn yellow and die, their trees are struck by lightning and the irrigation ditch they are digging is choked with stones and rubble, the Guatemalan peasants Carolina and her husband Juan and his brother Ricardo, shackled by the implacable will of their gods, must appeal for mercy to the mighty river Cunuman and its presiding spirit Tohil. Mayan custom decrees that a father, to ward off the evil eye, may not look upon his newborn until it is three months old, nor sleep with his wife during that period: Carolina, obsessed, her child dying, throws herself into the currents of Cunuman and there performs the act of love. But she is discovered, and the terrible troubles intensify, bringing death to the baby and Juan and heaping scorn upon Carolina. The incantations and medicaments of the village witch, Ishkik, are powerless, because it is not the gods who must be placated but rich Don Carlos, who has aggregated all the land for himself and looks with avarice upon the holdings of Juan and Ricardo. He lusts for women as well, and Carolina is pretty. So in the end, this too is a tale of sex and greed, murmurous though it is with the language of potion and spell and black magic. (October)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
Genre: Fiction
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