Locas by Yxta Maya Murray, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Locas

Locas

4.8 5
by Yxta Maya Murray
     
 

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A plunge into Los Angeles gang life, Locas is the story of two girls under the pressure of urban warfare. "Murray perfectly captures the patois and fury of the Mexican women of the East L.A. neighborhood Echo Park." -- Publishers Weekly

Overview

A plunge into Los Angeles gang life, Locas is the story of two girls under the pressure of urban warfare. "Murray perfectly captures the patois and fury of the Mexican women of the East L.A. neighborhood Echo Park." -- Publishers Weekly

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Rather than simmer beneath the surface, anger boils over on the pages of this first novel. Murray perfectly captures the patois and fury of the Mexican women of the East L.A. neighborhood of Echo Park. Here, the gang hierarchy is set in stone. There are jefes, right hands, taggers, third raters and sheep, the last being the girls who shut up, pose prettily at rumblas and carry babies for the men. Narrators Luca and Cecelia, however, do not fit this role: Luca wants to be a grandola; Cecelia sees herself as ugly, a "dirt dark Indian" who can't hold on to a pregnancy or a girlfriend. At the outset, the gun-dealing Lobos gang prevails, led by Manny, who is Cecelia's brother and Luca's lover. As cocaine supersedes guns and upstart rival G-4s challenge the Lobos, the two women struggle, exhibiting a depth of character that sets them apart from other women in Echo Park. In portraying Luca's unrelenting criminal meanness and hunger for power and Cecelia's ultimate resignation to a life of praying and cleaning rich rubias' houses, Murray gives readers inner-city gang life from the eyes of women. Both narrators' voices are insistent, unvarnished, in-your-face tough. The reader equipped with a Spanish-English dictionary has the best chance to grasp all the nuances of this convincing, under-the-skin work. (May) FYI: Murray is an associate professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. A chapter of this book appeared in Buzz.
Library Journal
The ways in which two similar lives parallel and diverge is the subject of this gritty tale of Hispanic gangs in Los Angeles. Cecilia and Lucia may be united by their love for Manny, Cecilia's brother and leader of the Lobos gang. Yet each takes a different path toward success in a cultural landscape that offers few choices for women. For Cecilia, it means getting pregnant at a tender age in the hope of gaining some small sense of belonging from the mamacitas in the park. For Lucia, it's attempting to become something forbidden for a womana gang leader in her own right. While the social and economic realities of the urban poor play a major role here, Murray never sacrifices character development to blind determinism. A gripping, if grim, work; for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/96]Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, Andover, Mass.
Kirkus Reviews
A deadly serious debut about Chicana girl gangs in Los Angeles that seems written with a sociology text in one hand, a slang dictionary in the other, and Geraldo on the tube. It's that predictable both in plot and texture.

The men and boys who strut through this urban crime novel are macho animals with no redeeming qualities—they beat their "sheep" (women), kill to save face, and, if they survive past 20, turn into rootless street trash. The women, on the other hand, prove more resourceful, especially the two narrators here, Lucía and Cecilia, who take quite divergent paths in their lives through the '80s. Cecilia, stout and Indian-looking, is in awe of her older brother, Manny, a tough "vato" who quickly rises as the king of Echo Park, where his "clika," the Lobos, rules the trade in guns and drugs. His girlfriend, Lucía, wants in on the action, especially after she first fondles one of Manny's guns. She keeps books for Manny's gang, always assuming a properly servile persona in front of his homeboys lest they discern any sign of weakness. When Manny's authority is challenged by Chico, a former Lobo who starts his own gang, the streets break out in drive-by shootings, beatings, and "rumplas." Meanwhile, Lucía recruits the toughest sheep to "throw down" with her, though Cecilia can't handle selling drugs to kids, or mugging poor women. After her miscarriage, which she interprets as divinely ordained, Cecilia retreats into the church and becomes like her mother—a tired housecleaner for the "gabachos." Lucía, a shrewd manipulator, plays the "vatos" against each other and emerges with her "Fire Girls" as a major street player whose only threat is "la LAPD."

A female Scarface, this straightforward narrative charts the rise and fall of Latin gangsters on L.A.'s mean streets with considerable documentary fervor but not much depth.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802135643
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
04/28/1998
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
751,690
Product dimensions:
5.53(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

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