Orange Candy Slices and Other Secret Tales

( 2 )

Overview

In Viola Canales' first collection of short stories, magic suffuses the everyday lives of characters that yearn to be recognized by the world around them or to change the circumstances that are beyond their control. In the title story, "Orange Candy Slices," a young girl cuts flowers with the precision of a surgeon to win a special favor from the Virgin of Guadalupe. The coffee grounds at the bottom of a cup foretell the future of customers in the enchanting story, "The Cafe." And in "The Wooden Chair," a ...
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Overview

In Viola Canales' first collection of short stories, magic suffuses the everyday lives of characters that yearn to be recognized by the world around them or to change the circumstances that are beyond their control. In the title story, "Orange Candy Slices," a young girl cuts flowers with the precision of a surgeon to win a special favor from the Virgin of Guadalupe. The coffee grounds at the bottom of a cup foretell the future of customers in the enchanting story, "The Cafe." And in "The Wooden Chair," a mysterious rattling chair turns a festive meal into a truth-telling cabal.

In these stories of coming of age, Canales introduces the reader to cultural traditions and artifacts of a very special community: homage to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the celebration of the day of the Three Magi, a carousel of unique saints, and a flock of very special pink plastic flamingos. With the passage of time, the narrator discovers changes within herself and the community around her.

Canales' tales inhabit the mysterious and secret land that lies between the United States and Mexico, between childhood and adulthood, reality and imagination, life and death. These haunting stories not only reveal, layer by layer, the fantastic in the ordinary, but, most importantly, the powerful and healing magic inside all of us.

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Editorial Reviews

Hispanic Magazine
Cultural traditions come alive in the stories...
Palo Alto Weekly
There is a quiet beauty in the stories of Orange Candy Slices
VOYA
These stories are born of the special culture that exists on the border between Texas and Mexico. Canales's Mexican heritage permeates each tale, spilling magic, faith, and a unique love of life onto each page. One story tells of a panderia, or bakery, whose owner, Marta, fills her shop with the sweet breads, cookies, and cakes that are so loved by the townspeople that a member of each family daily selects some pastries to savor as treats. When the day comes that the bakery stays dark, someone goes to look for Marta, only to discover that she has died overnight. Next to her is a book with all her recipes handwritten in her last days. After doing without for a time, the villagers organize themselves and take turns using Marta's recipes to bake for the whole community. Another story tells of a wooden chair that young Cecilia pulls into the house from someone's trash heap in the alley and uses to fill out the seating for the large family meal that has been prepared to celebrate the birth of Cecilia's baby sister. When they discover that the chair has magical powers and begins to rattle when the sitter is telling a lie, the local priest is called in. He decides to take the chair with him to place in the confessional. Because these stories are so richly layered, they can be enjoyed on any level from middle through high school. They will be excellent for a short story unit or for a study of Hispanic heritage. Most stories are told through the eyes of a child, usually a girl. Some are funny, some sad, and others poignant. Each offers a glimpse into this special culture where blended languages and lives seek their own place. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasionallapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, Arte Público, 176p,
— Leslie Carter
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558853324
  • Publisher: Arte Publico Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 1,408,316
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Orange Candy Slices 1
The Virgin 7
The Magi 11
The Carousel 15
Nopalitos 20
The Tiny Bubble 27
The Egg 32
The Feather 34
The Bubble Gum Pink House 38
The Polka Dot Dress 46
The Wooden Saints 51
The Flamingos 55
The Cafe 72
The magdalenas 82
The Woman with the Green Hair 87
The Tortilla 91
The panaderia 99
The Magician 103
The Gold Clock 110
The Wooden Chair 115
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2001

    The magical in the everyday

    This collection of short stories is just terrific. On the one hand, the stories give a vivid, all-five-senses picture of growing up in the Rio Grande Valley, with its hopes and dreams, its poverty, its religion, and its mysticism. On the other hand, the themes and experiences are universal. The author does an especially good job of showing how grandparents and grandchildren live together, sharing dreams and strategies. My favorite stories were The Tiny Bubble, with its combination of myth and the all-too-real details of learning about puberty, The Flamingoes, and The Cafe, but I enjoyed every one of them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2001

    Secret Tales Tell All

    Wow! I was totally immersed in these stories! The author accurately depicts life in a 20th Century Hispanic community. As a Mexican-American myself, I appreciate the vivid and colorful characters reminiscent of my childhood. I highly recommend this book!

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

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