Both these surreal novels are hugely entertaining love stories that circumvent time and place and culture, each with its own absurd, curious twist that makes us reexamine our concepts of borders. Crosthwaite's tale chronicles the relationship of 16th-century conquistador Balboa and his true love, the Aztec Florinda (formerly Xchitl). Having "discovered" Mexico, what's a conquistador to do with the rest of his life? Balboa isn't sure, and when he loses his government job because of bureaucratic downsizing, the couple traverseby busa few miles and centuries and arrive in Tijuana, on the frontiers of the Northernish Empire. They split up, Balboa going to live with the fair-haired Mary Ann for awhile and Florindanow Xchitl againbecoming a candidate for shoe-aholics anonymous. Balboa is clueless, "as though instead of a conquistador he [is] an out-of-tune mariachi serenading a social-climbing Indian." Instead of moving forward 400 or 500 years, Reyes's novel circles back a mere four or five decades. In Mexico City, Barbara, a dying elderly woman, hires Juan, a street-smart twentysomething cabby, to be her chauffeur during the final weeks of her life. In her mint 1942 cherry-colored Ford, they revisit the neighborhoods of her youth, and both Barbara and Mexico City are rejuvenated; she even encounters her parents and her long-lost love at Sanborn's House of Tiles. Both writers are well known in their native Mexico, and these funny, fast-moving novelstheir first to be published in Englishare welcome additions to all literary collections.Mary Margaret Benson, Linfield Coll. Lib., McMinnville, Ore.
Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)
Meet the Author
Luis Humberto Crosthwaite lives and works in the Tijuana/San Diego metroplex. The author of five novels, his fiction has garnered critical attention for his ability to express the complexities of living on the US/Mexico border. He writes a weekly column for the San Diego Union Tribune.