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Yañez writes with perfect understanding of his borderland setting, a landscape where poverty and violence impinge on traditional Mexican-American values, where the signs of gang culture strive with the ageless rituals of the Church. His characters are vivid, unique, fully authentic, searching for purpose or identity, for hope or meaning, in lives that seem to deny them almost everything. Yañez's world is that of the Southwestern Chicanos, but the fears and yearnings of his characters are universal. This is the work of a deeply compassionate and highly skilled writer, and the stories are moving and powerful.
Richard Yañez, born and raised in El Paso, Texas, is a graduate of New Mexico State University and Arizona State University. He has taught at Antioch College, Colorado College, and has been a Fellow at Saint Mary's College Center for Women's InterCultural Leadership. His fiction has appeared in Our Working Lives: Short Stories of People and Work and was featured in the Chicano Chapbook Series edited by Gary Soto.
Posted May 15, 2003
As I began to read the first story it brought back some of my own memories on Alameda, Zaragoza and North Loop. I could not put the book down until I literally finished reading it. All the stories had some sense of familarity.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 7, 2003
A few years ago, I read the short story, 'Lucero's Mkt.,' in Bilingual Review. I didn't know the author but the story moved me with its powerful, poignant portrait of two lost souls: a woman who had lost her mind (known in the neighborhood as, 'La Loquita') and Rafael, the lonely, owner of the tiendita. When I started to read Richard Yañez's debut collection, 'El Paso del Norte: Stories on the Border,' I was delighted when I came upon 'Lucero's Mkt.' It sat happily nestled among the other borderland stories in this slim, eloquent and vibrant collection. Yañez has a gift: he can bring to life one region in Texas (near the Mexican border) but he doesn't write the same story over and over again. The characters range across the map of Latino experiences: undocumented immigrants, pochos, young, old, male, female, middle-class, indigent. Yañez never falls in the trap known as bathos. He paints an honest picture of life on the border without pulling punches. But he also shows respect for the people he writes about even those who are riddled with imperfections. This is a very fine, accomplished book. I highly recommend it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.