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Where Divergent Religious Customs Merge: Death Of An Infant In Oaxaca Alvin Starkman

Between the birth and the death came a crazy-quilt of only-in-Mexico experiences that resonated with my memories Daniel Pérez González was a beautiful baby. His parents Flor and Jo... read more

The Guaymas Chronicles: La Mandadera by David E. Stuart Reviewed by Allan Cogan

Although it's about Mexico, this one starts off in Ecuador in the 1960s where the author was doing doctoral fieldwork for a dissertation on haciendas in that country. His work took him to a remote research station on the side of a mountain seventy miles from electricity, running water, telephones, etc. One day while riding his horse along the side of a gorge, with the bottom of a canyon almost a thousand feet below him, the horse stumbled and fell. On its way over the edge it rolled over Stuart and disappeared, leaving him badly crippled. He was rescued and eventually found his way to Guaymas, on the coast of the Sea of Cortez, in Mexico, where his fiancé, Iliana, lived. Thus begins the story of his recuperation and, at the same time, the exploration of Mexican society and customs which is described here. read more

The Salvation of La Purisima by T. M. Spooner Reviewed by Allan Cogan

The two cultures - Mexican and U.S. - come together in a thoughtful way in this interesting novel, which is set in both countries. The story concerns a group of Mexican illegal immigrants who travel north in May each year to work in the cherry orchards in northern Michigan. They are from the village of La Purísima in Michoacán. It's a community inhabited solely by elderly people and women and children during the picking season when all the men head north on what has become their annual rite of passage. It's perhaps more than that. read more

Bilimbique: A Story From Mexico by Peggy Brown Balderrama Reviewed by Allan Cogan

One of the problems with reviewing this short but interesting novel is that the plot is based on a couple of surprises. To say too much about it would spoil the story. Once the action gets well underway the reader is presented with a surprising development involving one of the main characters. At that point the reader can even be forgiven for believing the story is essentially over. Read on however, and you'll find that Sra. Balderrama has another trick up her sleeve for the last chapter, a ploy that makes the experience of reading Bilimbique even more satisfying. read more

Mexican Folk Art from Oaxacan Artist Families by Arden Aibel Rothstein and Anya Leah Rothstein Reviewed by Allan Cogan

There are hundreds of photos of all kinds of artistic output, from pottery to wood carvings, from basket weaving to candle making, and lots more but we're given a much closer look at the actual creators of all this work. We're treated to wonderful works featuring mermaids, clowns, devils, angels, fishes, skeletons, Biblical scenes, animals and birds of all kinds, and even ladies of the night. These are all used to decorate masks, bedspreads, candles, baskets, jewelry, furniture, statues, toys, pottery and clothing and much, much more plus some 87 brief biographies of each of the artists. read more

Mexican Lives by Judith Adler Hellman Reviewed by Allan Cogan

Ms. Hellman, who is a Professor of Political and Social Science at York University in Toronto, writes about fifteen Mexicans in all walks of life. They emerge as authentic and likeable people, coping with problems that you and I can scarcely imagine. The people she describes range from well-to-do agri-business people to maids; from industrialists to a coyote who has been successfully smuggling illegals into California almost every night of the week for the last few years. read more

Mexicans: Changing The Eastern Oregon Perspective Amanda Villagómez

Large families, devout Catholics, modest clothing, very poor - these are some of the common preconceived notions about Mexicans from a rural eastern Oregon perspective. However, such a view is limiting... read more

Like Water for Chocolate Reviewed by Allan Cogan

"Like Water for Chocolate" is a sort of combined novel and cookbook. Food plays a very prominent part in the narrative. The heroine, Tita, is a wonderful cook and we are even provided with her recipes along with the action. The story is set at the time of the Mexican Revolution - 1910-1920 - in Piedras Negras in Northern Mexico. And, like so many Mexican stories, it concerns a family. The story mainly concerns Tita, the youngest daughter, the remarkable cook and originator of all those recipes. read more

Rain of Gold Reviewed by Allan Cogan

This novel is a kind of Mexican "Roots" - a big family survival saga covering three generations of two families, complete with a large cast of characters. Author Villaseñor has based his complex, sprawling tale on the experiences of his own family members and his interviews with them. In fact, even though this is a novel, the author has included several actual family photos of the people he's writing about. It certainly lends a measure of authenticity to the narrative. Historically, the novel covers the period from the Mexican Revolution, around 1910, to the Prohibition era in California. The action takes place in many parts of Mexico and in many states in the U.S. read more

A writer's education from the mean streets of Mexico City Reviewed by Dean Gallagher

Plaza Garibaldi, 2 a.m., and the mean streets are bopping. Beers flowing. Flowing friends. Tequilas, too. Maybe a few too many. What the hell. You'll get a taxi ... You are a writer and this is a fi... read more

The Mexicans: A personal portrait of a people Reviewed by Allan Cogan

Author Oster's portraits make this an excellent account of a timeless and yet changing Mexico. His approach is to focus on twenty varied individuals and use them as a reason to discuss the larger issues they represent. read more

Luz: Another village light in Mata Ortiz, Mexico Michael Allan Williams

Juan Mata Ortíz is a small village of potters, farmers and cowboys in Northern Chihuahua. About 30 years ago, an unschooled artistic genius, Juan Quezada, taught himself how to make ollas, eart... read more

Society's fascination with the wild outsider Reviewed by Anthony Wright

Immersed in the history of art and literature, weaved into the superstitions of the collective consciousness, and illumined by the silver screens of cinema, the Wild Man paradoxically basks in the ligh... read more
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