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All results for tag “mexico-novels”
Showing 26—50 of 70 results

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

Maid in Mexico - an excerpt from the book: Agave Marias Harriet Hart

When I refer to "my Mexican maid," my Canadian friends cringe. I suspect they picture a stooped crone in a shawl, scrubbing my floors on her hands and arthritic knees. Lupita is young, a handsome woman with strong features, too strong to be described as pretty. She arrives for work wearing tight jeans and a sweatshirt, dons my Harrod's apron and sets to work. She has her own methodical approach - bleach in the toilet bowls, shower curtains tossed over the rods, laundry in the washing machine, efficient methods I never interfere with. read more

Three señoras named Lola - an excerpt from the book Agave Marias Gloria Marthai

Two things the three señoras had in common were poverty and pain. Even their names, Dolores, meaning pains, seemed to cast a grim prognostication on their lives. Their informal names of Lola did nothing to lighten their load. read more

Introducing Rick Gage: Murder in La Paz and Death Mask of the Jaguar by Murdoch Hughes Reviewed by Allan Cogan

With these two thrillers we find ourselves in the world of hard-boiled private eyes - a la Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler - but with a difference. Both stories are squarely set in Mexico. Murdoch Hughes has created a private eye, Rick Gage, who has given up his former career as a detective in Los Angeles to get away from the stress and violence he experienced there and moved to La Paz. However, with these two books, Rick encounters enough stress and violence to fill any number of careers. But he's a tough guy. He can take it. read more

The lady is a tramp - an excerpt from the book: Agave Marias Nina Discombe

- an excerpt from the book: "Agave Marias - border crossers, boundary breakers." by various authors.

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The delivery - an excerpt from the book: Agave Marias Harriet Hart

Giving birth is difficult enough with one woman involved; imagine when it takes ten. We conceived of this anthology in October of 2004. We had no instruction manual to follow, no physician to monitor our pregnancy, check our blood pressure, give us internal examinations or prepare us for delivery. How hard could it be? read more

The Dark Side of the Dream by Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez Reviewed by Allan Cogan

The story begins in 1941, at the time America went to war with Japan and Germany. It concerns the Salazar family, poor farmers in Chihuahua. The grandfather, Sebastian, knows he is dying and he advises the family to move to the United States. He reasons that because of the war the Americans will want lots of people to work in their country as their men go off to fight. Their farm is a ruin. Only expensive fertilizer could bring it back to life. And they don't have any money. read more

Travel Advisory: Stories of Mexico by David Lida Reviewed by Allan Cogan

Lida's writing and his choice of material cast a powerful spell. read more

A peon ponders the equality of life Ruth Ross-Merrimer

For the second year in a row it was a time of drought in Mexico. At the time of year when the life-giving rains should have been falling each day, they had come and gone, dropping just enough moisture ... read more

Only Once In A Lifetime - A Novel by Alejandro Grattan Reviewed by Ed Lusch

During the late 1970s, the first major Hispanic motion picture, Only Once in a Lifetime, premiered in Texas at the San Antonio Film Festival. The reaction was, according to the city s largest newspaper... read more

The Stuff Of Dreams By Alejandro Grattan Reviewed by Norman Eades

Alejandro Grattan's latest novel is a rip-roaring adventure tale which swiftly takes the reader from the bright lights of Hollywood to the mysterious jungles of the Yucatan. The book is filled with int... read more

Music & Dance In Mexico

MUSIC The music of Mexico provides a rich tapestry of rhythm, tone, and variety. Its roots are based on a compelling history of disparate influences. From the music of the Mariachi, the Corri... read more

Only Once in a Lifetime by Alejandro Grattan Reviewed by Allan Cogan

Here's a story that takes in a complete life, from childhood well into adulthood, and from rags to riches. It's a story that is of interest to we residents in the Lake Chapala area as it starts out in Ajijic and covers a fair number of years there - or should I say here. On page one we encounter ten-year-old Francisco Obregón, a homeless barefoot orphan outside the Old Posada on the Ajijic waterfront. It's 1940 and Francisco is hustling for odd jobs and tips. It's the only way he can manage to survive. read more

Breaking Even by Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez Reviewed by Allan Cogan

"What Val saw as his long period of involuntary servitude was about to come to an end. In the prison movie parlance he liked to affect, he had done his 'hard time.' He had finally reached his eighteenth birthday, and Texas law entitled him to make his own decisions now." The time is 1955. Val has just graduated from high school - although barely. He's finally free to escape the tiny Texas town of Big Bend, which he detests, and go off to California. Val's mother, Guadalupe, is Mexican and his father, who has long since flown the coop, is Anglo, which at least makes Val part Mexican. read more

Brain Surgeon by William Wallace and Memoirs of the Future by Eduard Prugovecki Reviewed by Allan Cogan

This month's column is a little bit different as I'm not reviewing one particular book on or about Mexico. Rather, I'd like to take the opportunity to pay tribute to some local writers here in the Guadalajara/Lake Chapala area. I recently had the experience of reading and enjoying four books, all within a very brief time span, and then realized that all four were written by local writers. read more

Zorro by Isabel Allende Reviewed by Allan Cogan

There have been several versions of the Zorro story since its initial appearance in 1905 in The Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley. When I did a search on Google.com I was offered several thousand references to the character. It's all new to me. It's not really clear to me why a novelist as renowned as Isabel Allende would produce yet another version of this oft told story. read more

Treasures in Heaven, a Novel by Kathleen Alcala Reviewed by Allan Cogan

Here's an interesting novel set in turn-of-the-century Mexico City. It's a story that's mainly concerned with women's rights, which were just about non-existent in those times, and the political turbulence preceding the Mexican Revolution. Estela, a rather attractive and spirited lady, lives in a small rural town with her infant son, Noé. We meet her at the point in her life when she is leaving her husband and heading for Mexico City. Essentially she's looking for her former lover, Dr. Victor Carranza. 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

The Old Gringo by Carlos Fuentes Reviewed by Allan Cogan

The story is based on the mysterious death/disappearance of the American writer Ambrose Bierce who, at age 71, went into Mexico in 1913 during the Revolution and vanished. Bierce is the author of such works as "The Devil's Dictionary" and "Incident at Owl's Creek Bridge." He was a contemporary of writers like Bret Harte and Mark Twain. He was also a newspaper reporter, employed at the time of his death by the San Francisco Chronicle, which was part of the William Randolph Hearst empire. Bierce had also seen distinguished service in the Civil War. read more

Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros Reviewed by Allan Cogan

The story mostly concerns three generations of a Mexican family, some of whom live in Mexico, others in the U.S. The action starts with three family groups making an annual pilgrimage from their homes in Chicago to visit other family members - like Awful Grandmother and Little Grandfather - in Mexico City. As they drive in three carloads down Route 66 one of the daughters, Lala, tells us about them - or at least some of them. read more

The Veracruz Blues by Mark Winegardner Reviewed by Allan Cogan

This is a wonderful mixture of fact and fiction about America, Mexico and baseball. The time of the story is the ‘40s when Mexico had great baseball teams and the Veracruz Blues "was the best ball club that ever was". The story is about 1946, la temporada de oro, the season of gold. read more

Escape to Mexico: An Anthology of Great Fiction edited by Sara Nickles Reviewed by Allan Cogan

Here's a collection of stories with a rather unusual theme. Mexico isn't just the place where the action takes place in these tales. Rather, it's as if Mexico - sunny, exotic, mysterious and occasionally slightly dangerous - is yet another character in each of the tales. There are 18 stories here, by authors such as Stephen Crane, Jack Kerouac, Anaís Nin, Tennessee Williams, Patricia Highsmith and Graham Greene. With those kinds of names you can at least rely on the pedigree of the material. read more

Stones for Ibarra by Harriet Doerr Reviewed by Allan Cogan

This is a novel about Richard and Sara Everton, a couple of Americans who choose to leave San Francisco and live in a small, remote Mexican village. Their purpose is to reopen a copper mine that was abandoned by Richard's grandfather fifty years ago in the Revolution of 1910. The novel depicts their arrival and their integration into Ibarra. read more

Aztec by Gary Jennings Reviewed by Allan Cogan

I found this novel to be a total winner. In fact, it just kept on getting better and better and I can’t recommend it highly enough. A couple of people described it as "that gory book" when I mentioned I was reading it. Yes, it’s gory, because it describes a society that was rather big on human sacrifice and a people who were rather beastly to neighboring tribes. But they had worthy things going for them, too. They built a wonderful city and produced great artists and created a viable civilization. My hat is off to Gary Jennings. read more

The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene Reviewed by Allan Cogan

The story is based on an actual event in Mexican history when, in 1926, then President Calles began a persecution of the Roman Catholic Church by burning churches and killing priests and, in general, creating a Godless country. The reason for the persecution was what the government called the Church's greed and debauchery. The campaign was more successful in some states than in others. Tabasco was the most rabid persecutor and the Governor, Tomas Garrido Canabal, actually drove every priest out of the state. Canabal was determined to show that a well-run society was possible without allowing any place for religion. Churches were destroyed and the stones used to pave roads. To protect the populace he also outlawed alcohol and jazz. The importation of saxophones was banned. One follower was so devoted to the cause he carried a business card which explained that he was the personal enemy of God. In some cases a citizen could be severely penalized for saying "Adios" simply because it referred to God. read more
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