cover image Ocotillo Dreams

Ocotillo Dreams

Melinda Palacio. Bilingual, $26 (188p) ISBN 978-1-931010-75-7

Accomplished poet Palacio seamlessly transitions to fiction in her debut novel about identity, stereotypes, and prejudice in a Phoenix suburb. Isola leaves her San Francisco home and university community to claim the house in Chandler, Ariz., she inherited after her mother's death. Long estranged, Isola is unfamiliar with her mother's life, except for a monthly postcard of a blooming ocotillo cactus that proclaimed dreams came true in Chandler. Isola is startled to find a man, Cruz, asleep in the kitchen, whom she learns he knew her mother well and was one of many undocumented immigrants her mother (as a part of her work with Rescate Angeles) had helped cross the border, learn English, and find work. Additional surprises await Isola when new visitors arrive, slowly revealing the mother she never really knew. Palacio's poet's eye reveals a vibrantly painted desert culture of fragile beauty and uncompromising harshness. (July)