The Valley

The Valley

5.0 1
by Rolando Hinojosa

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Bilingual Review/Press
Publication date:
Klail City Death Trip Series
Product dimensions:
5.79(w) x 8.84(h) x 0.54(d)

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Valley 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
VirginiaReviews More than 1 year ago
When nine-year-old orphan Jehú Malacara is taken in by ninety-year-old Don Víctor Peláez, Jehú embarks on a career as a circus apprentice under the protection of his new-found father figure. Unfortunately the situation is short lived because Don Víctor dies three years later, leaving Jehú to fend for himself. Don Víctor made Jehú beneficiary of his small Mexican Revolution pension and left him his diary, but more important than material goods, he gave Jehú a lifetime of practical lessons. It was because of him that I learned to read and, later on, to love the habit of reading; I started off by reading labels from patent-medicine bottle and medicinal herb cartons and, still later on, he provided me with newspapers and magazines of all types and sorts; in shirt, I read whatever came my way. Don Víctor inspired Jehú with a first-hand account of his experiences as a lieutenant colonel in the Mexican Revolution. This made Jehú feel proud of his roots, confident and secure in his identity. Don Víctor also taught the young boy to be an orator good enough to give a sales pitch. Theirs was a mutual relationship with Jehu giving his benefactor the greatest gift of all: he listened to Don Víctor's stories and provided companionship in the golden years of his life. The character sketch of Jehú Malacara along with his family genealogy serves as a launching pad for a character that will evolve as the Klail City Death Trip Series progresses. The Valley is the first installment in the series. Another child we are introduced to in The Valley is Jehu's cousin Rafe Buenrostro, he is another precocious child who makes wry observations on topics ranging from racism, assimilation, language, trauma, and superstition. Like Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn before them, Jehú Malacara and Rafe Buenrostro come of age in a small town and are aware of the happenings in their town. But unlike Tom and Huck from Hannibal, Missouri, Jehú and Rafe of Klail City, Texas are not shown through a nostalgic lens. With unflinching realism Hinojosa shows us the hardship the young men experience and we notice that they both take on jobs at an early age. The effect of not having an extended childhood is that they become serious young men who are upwardly mobile. Jehu and Rafe have plans for the future despite their humble beginnings. These are just two characters you will meet in The Valley. Other characters are not as fortunate. Some young men have tragic lives that lead to premature deaths. Rolando Hinojosa has achieved nothing short of tapping into the life blood of The Valley and breathing life into a huge cast of characters from all different walks of life and social classes. Many of the families in The Valley were established in the eighteenth century and date back to the Escandón expedition of 1749. The Valley is an enjoyable read that puts a society in context in a concise entertaining way. In the Valley, there are families from around Klail, Flora, and Bascom who have known each other for some six-seven-eight generations, and many are blood related, as well. In spite of this, when a young man from Klail, say, makes plans to marry a girl from Flora, a commission is charged to ask for the girl's hand. They become serious and solemn; the about-to-be-enga