Capirotada: A Nogales Memoir

Overview

Capirotada, Mexican bread pudding, is a mysterious mixture of prunes, peanuts, white bread, raisins, milk, quesadilla cheese, butter, cinnamon and cloves, Old World sugar—"all this," writes Alberto Rios, "and things people will not tell you."

Like its Mexican namesake, this memoir is a rich melange, stirring together Rios's memories of family, neighbors, friends, and secrets from his youth in the two Nogaleses—in Arizona and through the open ...

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Overview

Capirotada, Mexican bread pudding, is a mysterious mixture of prunes, peanuts, white bread, raisins, milk, quesadilla cheese, butter, cinnamon and cloves, Old World sugar—"all this," writes Alberto Rios, "and things people will not tell you."

Like its Mexican namesake, this memoir is a rich melange, stirring together Rios's memories of family, neighbors, friends, and secrets from his youth in the two Nogaleses—in Arizona and through the open gate into Mexico.

The vignettes in this memoir are not loud or fast. Yet like all of Rios's writing they are singular. Here is the story about a rickety magician, his chicken, and a group of little boys, but who plays a trick on whom? The story about the flying dancers and mortality. About going to the dentist in Mexico because it is cheaper, and maybe dangerous. About a British woman who sets out on a ship for America with the faith her Mexican GI will be waiting for her in Salt Lake City. And about the grown son who looks at his father and understands how he must provide for his own boy.

This book's uncommon offering is how it stops to address the quiet, the overlooked, the every day side of growing up. Capirotada is not about prison, or famous heroes. It is instead about the middle, which is often the most interesting place to find news.

Capirotada was selected as the 2009 ONEBOOKAZ by the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A master of the coming-of-age story, R os is the author of several short story collections (The Iguana Killer, etc.). Fans of his fiction will recognize the origins of numerous stories in this short memoir of growing up in a small Arizona border town. The Nogales of R os's childhood shared a virtually open border with Nogales, Mexico: business was conducted casually between the two towns and playmates wandered back and forth. Now there is a solid steel wall separating the communities. "This is not the border," R os writes. "It's something else, something underscoring the difference between danger and grace, which is not something that separates people. It's something that joins them, as they face the same border." The wall forms a dark subtext to this otherwise delightfully innocent memoir, which is magnified when R os and his first grade "gang" rush home to take midday baths after the sewage treatment plant contaminates the town's one dry riverbed. Later, effluents from unregulated maquiladoras (foreign-owned factories) create a stream that can bleach blue jeans on contact. Now Nogales has the highest rate of lupus in the U.S. But R os's memoir is not an environmental diatribe. Rather, it is an extremely personal family history filled with small anecdotes and finely drawn landscapes. As a literary autobiography, it is perhaps too true to its title (capirotada is a kind of catchall Mexican bread pudding): a collection of memories that fails to match the power of R os's fiction. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826320933
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 148
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 8.89 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Alberto Alvaro Rios is Regents Professor at Arizona State University, Tempe.

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