"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Y2K - Retrospect - 2000 Novels: Que Pronto Pasen los Años


Y2K Retrospecitve: Novels

Well, we've reached the last "0" milemark and we are at the year 2000. In 1970s, there were just about 4-5 books published. Thirty years later, too much to mention in just one post. So let's start with novels. So much genre expoliration that this even include romance novels. Again, if we leave anything off the list, or we left your book, send us an email:

Help Wanted/Aviso Oportuno (Encanto) 
Pinnacle; Bilingual edition 2000
ISBN-10: 0786011386
Paperback Calaca Press 2000
ISBN-10: 0966077334

We include this because is, well, novelic, but you decide. In AS OUR BARRIO TURNS ... WHO THE YOKE B ON?, alurista poet-filetero filosofo snaps shots of his singular history in wickedly funny, blasphemous travelogues through his youth and activist days. His scrapbook leapfrogs from military academy in M‚xico to militant politics in '60s San Diego, boyhood challenges of Catholic dogma, adult challenges in building a Chicano cultural movement. 

But it's not nostalgia that alurista traffics in -- it's the revisiting of the past that may hold clues to the map of the movimiento's millennium movidas. Pick up your Neo-Aztec battle armour and get ready to rumble in a vortex of language corridos and time-space slippage - Juan Felipe Herrera.

Paperback Silver Lake Pub 2000
ISBN-10: 1931095116
Daniel A. Olivas

We could not locate a description for this book, but Christina Gossnell writes " This is a love story in its truest sense. The bones of the story are love, courtship, and the intertwining of hearts and spirits. But it is also a story of struggle and completion for both the characters and the author. Through looking at the lives of those before us, we learn much about ourselves; there were reasons this story had to be told. Mr. Olivas needed to tell this story for himself and his family." Read the Review.

Hardcover New York : A.A. Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 2000
ISBN: 0375401628
Thomas Sanchez

Day of the Bees celebrates passion and creativity as it explores the links between love and violence, art and war, and reveals the sacrifices made for love?of person and country.

An American art historian is seeking to discover why the famous painter Zermano abandoned his beautiful muse Louise during World War II. Visiting Louise?s cottage in Provence after her death, the scholar finds letters that carry across a panoramic landscape of fifty years and piece together a tempestuous affair with tragic conclusions.

Faults: A Novel (Djuna Books)
Paperback Alyson Books; 1st edition 2000
ISBN-10: 1555834787
Terri de la Peña

From Booklist
Homesick Toni Dorado leaves the north woods and Amanda to return to her family in L.A. and, perhaps, to her former lover Pat. No sooner is she back home than she learns her estranged sister Sylvia is pregnant -- and living in the duplex next door with her unemployed, drunken, wife-beating current husband. The also homophobic brute trashes Toni's widowed Mama's income property and bashes Pat's car before police arrest him. 

Sylvia's ex, a formerly hunky surfer now confined to a wheelchair and a lucrative psychotherapy practice, gives words of wisdom and temporary refuge to Sylvia's daughter Gabi, to Mama, and to the two sisters, who spit tacks at each other whenever possible. So why, Pat wonders, has she gotten re-embroiled with the Dorados? Some readers may wonder, too, especially if they are also thrown by the Spanish with which de la Pena liberally salts the basically English text. If they relish dysfunctional family fare, however, no problemo. Whitney Scott.

(American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series) Paperback
University of Oklahoma Press c2000
ISBN-10: 0806133767
Gilberto Chavez Ballejos (Author), Shirley Hill Witt (Author)

El Indio Jesus, a mixed-blood Chicano/Indian/Coyote, is a hustler and philosopher who follows his vision, always challenging the sacred and the acceptable. He devises business schemes, including the Right On Time Company and the Fly By Night Company, which he establishes for the unemployed and undocumented borderlanders who excel in lost or "illegitimate" art forms such as tile-making, lowrider automobile creation, and graffiti wall artistry. Jesus becomes entangled in adventures, many of his own design, that lead him to increasingly complicated and dangerous situations.

Hardcover University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition 2000
ISBN-10: 0226010678
Luis Gabriel Aguilera

Like many boys, Luis Gabriel Aguilera grew up with cartoons, music, friends, and first loves. As he entered his teenage years, he faced the typical questions of adolescence — what kind of person did he want to be? how should he live his life? But for Aguilera, now in his twenties, these questions had a particular urgency. 

A Mexican immigrant, he came of age in a Polish neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago that was encroached upon by threats of gangs and drugs. He attended Catholic school and, at age thirteen, began an affair with one of the teachers at the local elementary school. All the while he documented his teenage years in a series of journals, which have now grown into Gabriel's Fire.

Aguilera's memoir is not just an account of race relations and street life in the inner city, nor of the plight of the immigrant and the dilemma of class identity for a "minority" family. Gabriel's Fire also movingly recounts the peculiarly daunting and inspiring moments of a particular age, riddled with confusion, desires, and duties and recorded by an exceptionally observant and articulate young man. Aguilera writes that he "grew into" the English language when he was eleven or twelve, and his recollections reflect his newfound delight with words — the conversations, arguments, taunts, song lyrics, and casual interchanges of his youth are rendered here with an immediacy and directness rare in contemporary memoirs.

Both a picture of American culture of the 1980s and 1990s and a coming-of-age story, Gabriel's Fire counters mainstream and mass-mediated images of the inner city, Hispanic culture, and troubled youth. In its honesty and energy, it is a poignant and compelling story of one man's formative years.

Paperback Dream House Press 1999
ISBN-10: 0967155517
Art Rodriquez

We get 1999 or 2000 for this book, but might as well mention it.

The Monkey Box is a story that goes back to the 1800's. It starts with Art Rodriguez's great grandparents. Art's great great grandfather was a priest in Spain. He and his family were of royal decent, which made them dukes. 
The priest had an affair with a young woman. In time she became pregnant. At childbirth the young lady died. Then is when it became public knowledge that the priest was the father of baby Lydia. 

The church wanted to send him to the Vatican to be excommunicated. The family was extremely embarrassed and disgraced. The family made him a deal. They told him if he were to leave the country with baby Lydia, they would give him his portion of his inheritance and all his documents to prove his family's lineage. He agreed. 

The priest and his daughter boarded a ship and landed in Vera Cruz, Mexico. There he made his way to Chiapas, Mexico. He found a friend of the family who was a doctor. He asked his friend if he and his family would care for baby Lydia and make sure she received an education. In return the priest would leave him enough money to compensate him for taking care of her needs. 

In addition he would leave money in advance to pay for all the education she would need. The priest said he would leave Lydia's portion of her inheritance in Mexico City. When Lydia became of age, she would receive all that was due to her. The priest said he would return periodically to see Lydia. However, once he left he never returned. No one ever heard from him again. It was not known if he was killed or went back to Spain. 

When Lydia was 16 years old, there was a young man who was 26 years old from the state of Senora, Mexico, whom she fell in love with. Soon they eloped. This story goes into their relationship and the problems they encountered with the doctor and his family. The "Monkey Box" goes through their life, their Son's life, whose painting is on the cover of the book, then it ends in San Jose, California with the father and mother of Art Rodriguez. When Chico and Lydia were married, Chico went out to the jungle and obtained wood that kept is colors for years. He constructed a box with beautiful monkeys carved all over the outside of the box. That is where the family's documents were kept through the years.

The late Art Rodriguez was born in San Jose California in 1949 to Jose Edmundo Rodriguez and Mildred Wiggins at San Jose Hospital. He has two bothers and one sister. At the time of his birth his parents lived on San Fernando Street. He started school at Gardner Elementary when his family lived on Spencer Street, in San Jose's West Side. 

At the age of 8 years old, his parents bought a house on Virginia Place in San Jose's East Side. He attended Mayfair, now known as Cesar Chavez Elementary School. Lee Mathson was his junior high school. Then he went to William C. Overfelt High School. During his junior year at Overfelt High School, Art Rodriguez was involved in a crime and was sent to the California Youth Authority, Preston School of Industries. He received his high school diploma even though he did not earn it. 

After three years he was released and worked at various jobs unsure of what he wanted in life. In 1985 after having many difficult experiences, he started a business, Number "1" Disposal in San Jose. Now that his children help in the responsibility of managing his business, it now gives Art Rodriguez time to follow his recently discovered passion, writing.

HarperCollins Publishers April 30, 2011 ISBN-10: 006017272X
ISBN-13: 978-0060172725
Sylvia Lopez

I know this ways 2011 up there, but I had this down as published in 2000. If I remember correctly, it is one of those recovered novels from before the Chicano Movement.

Hardcover University of New Mexico Press; 1st edition January 1, 2000
ISBN-10: 0826321852
Gary Soto

"I'm outta here! I got a future!" crows Roberto Silva when he is down-sized out of his job as a security guard at a bank in Oakland. But Roberto's future isn't the one he was looking forward to. This is the 1990s, and upward mobility in the city requires resources that Roberto is short of. 
Before he knows it, he is living in an abandoned quonset hut and then on the street, where he crosses paths with poet Silver Mendez, a survivor of the 1960s whose luck has run out, and Gus Hernandez, a compadre from his days at the bank. The ups and downs of the lives of men who are always looking for a way to earn a cup of coffee with plenty of sugar and cream, their desperate ingenuity, their hunger, their dauntless optimism have never been brought to life as vividly as in this sweet, sad, funny trio of interlocking stories by one of America's most original writers.

Paperback University of New Mexico Press 2000
ISBN-10: 0826322530
Ito Romo

This tenderly wrought novel by a gifted new writer about a town on the Rio Grande resonates with pure border voices. Thirteen women — all ages and backgrounds — react in unexpected, humorous, and mysterious ways when one day the river suddenly turns crimson red. 
The bridge, which the women cross and re-cross in the course of this cycle of stories, becomes a site where the women acquire knowledge about their lives and their landscape as the mystery of the color of the river unravels. Romo illuminates a cross-section of border life in classic, lyrical prose, rich with elements of fable, ancient morality tales, and magic, all the while capturing the extraordinary textures of contemporary border life.

El Puente/The Bridge captivates and entertains with its mix of closely observed reality imbued with deep spirituality.

“The world, according to Romo, is bizarre, troche moche, heartbreaking, rasquache, endlessly romantic, tender and touching. As funny as a fotonovela, triste as a telenovela, and wild as any Fellini.” — Sandra Cisneros

“Romo has created his own bridge between the seeming ordinariness of the women with an extraordinary event, beautifully told. We stand captivated in the presence of full human beings.” — Helena María Viramontes

“Touches of eccentricity and humor enliven this debut effort, an engaging cross between a novel and a story collection.” — Publishers Weekly

Bilingual Press/Editorial Biling-Ue 2000
ISBN-10: 0927534932
Francisco X. Stork 

From Publishers Weekly
If ever a literary character arrived on death row for the crime of love, it is Ismael D!az in this potent novel. D!az was a successful real estate lawyer in Boston until he stamped out a neighbor's "spring-cleaning fire." One thing led to another and D!az lost his home, his wife--everything that he thought made his life worthwhile. 

He ends up back in El Paso, his hometown, looking for Armanda, the long-abandoned love of his youth. After he left her, Armanda, without D!az's knowledge, bore his child, later saw that child murdered by a sibling and gradually lost herself in drugs and prostitution across the border in Ciudad Juarez. 

Diaz finds and rehabilitates her, but soon a crisis occurs, resulting in murder-or, rather, an execution. All of this is related in short episodes in a 46-day diary, written from death row. As D!az reconstructs his life, he also learns the "way of the jaguar" from another inmate. It is half ancient Aztec, half home-grown philosophy (heavy on the Zen) that entails facing down La Pelona -- Death herself -- and accepting life. Paralleling this mental pathway are Diaz's memories of the Paso Lento, a passive but passionate lovemaking method that Armanda taught him, details of which will blow the socks off the reader. 

As Armanda says, "I can show you the steps but the music of the Paso Lento comes from inside you." Chapters of this unusual book range from a conversation D!az holds with his penis during a masturbation contest to philosophical contemplations of Christ as a nonviolent warrior. 

A prize recipient in the 1999 Chicano/Latino Literary Contest, the novel is a splendidly intense debut, salted with irony and peppered with truly sexy sex -- a blend of magical realism and gritty realism, as if Updike had re-written "Innocent Erendira." Though the text contains a good deal of untranslated Spanish, most words are clear from the context. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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