cover image Ashes of Izalco

Ashes of Izalco

Claribel Alegria, Claribel Alegrc-A, Darwin J. Flakoll. Curbstone Press, $9.95 (174pp) ISBN 978-0-915306-83-1

In a novel that blends politics, history and romance with unfailing gentleness, unforeseeable, explosive events determine the actions of the characters but never interrupt the work's lyrical structure. Carmen Rojas, the heroine, was a child when, in 1932, she witnessed the brutality of the El Salvadoran National Guard, who murdered 30,000 rioting peasants. The tragedy shapes her political consciousness, and, although she marries an American and lives in Washington, D.C., she cannot escape its memory. Thirty years later, she returns home to attend her mother's funeral and to care for her sickly father, and discovers a diary kept by her mother's American lover in the months before the 1932 uprisings. Through her poetry and journals, Alegria ( Woman of the River ) has distinguished herself to many American readers, but this novel, written with her American husband, a former journalist, will astonish even those familiar with her consummate skill. (Sept.)