The Mystery of Survival and Other Stories

Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Author, Alicia Gaspar De Alba, Author, Alicia Gaspar De Alba, Author Bilingual Press/Editorial Biling-Ue $12 (128p) ISBN 978-0-927534-32-1
``A people that loses its memory loses its destiny.'' So reads the graffiti on a wall, read by the narrator of the first and best of these works while she and her mother are fleeing a man who has abused her. Unfortunately, Gaspar de Alba drums in that message over and over in these pieces, set on both sides of the Mexican-American border, that read more like morality lessons than short stories. In one tale, a Mexican-American man who applies for a position, in 1921, as a reporter for the El Paso Herald is offered instead a humble clerk's job. In another, a Chicana lesbian takes up with a white woman who has changed her name to Zulema as a gesture of solidarity with women of color. A Mexican-American woman studying poetry-writing in self-exile in Iowa goes to a Tarot reader for an interpretation of her recurring dream about a pinata, and a strange woman pronounces herself the curandera , or healer, of a modern-day Mexican village even though its inhabitants reject her. Gaspar de Alba is a poet, and she sketches the characters in delicate language, but that spareness can also be frustrating when it results in a lack of action and plot. Two of the stories are in Spanish. This is a debut collection. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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