Written with an undercurrent of magical realism, and spiced with the flavors that linger long in the memory, these tales from Tecate--along the dusty strip of the Baja California border--evoke a wondrous place where roosters crow in Spanish, affection is spontaneous, and water, if it so chooses, can flow uphill . . . .
"These tales charm as they traverse a happy, well-observed life. The scenery is vigorous Californian-Mexican. The road signs crackle with whimsy, pride, and mystery."
--Kelvin Christopher James
Author of JUMPING SHIP AND OTHER STORIES
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A look at Mexican life on the border town of Tecate that reeks less of magic realism and more of a high-school creative writing exercise. Newcomer Reveles offers heavy-handed tales of less-than-colorful residents that are not, as he suggests, unbelievable, but rather unbelievably dull. In ``Of Time and Circumstance,'' a Hollywood filmmaker decides to build a house in Tecate and learns that hospitality abounds, people aren't always what they seem, and, in the only non-stereotypical revelation, roosters don't say cock-a-doodle-doo but kee-kee-ree-kee. The title character in ``Jeemy'' moves his furniture business to Tecate from Los Angeles to escape taxes and alimony payments; he lives like Donald Trump until, after a fortune-telling bird predicts he will lose all his money, his million dollars disappear with the bank nationalization of 1982. When the town's workers leave the fields but still manage to buy liquor and clothes, the landowners think they've discovered ``The Miracle'' of El Tigre (a hermit said to have buried money in the canyon where the workers live) and imagine their crops and their fortunes ruined; but the future looks brighter when they realize the money has come from a California mission (gringos exporting welfare), and they put a stop to it. A woman discovers her husband is having an affair and ignores all conventional advice, which suggests she look the other way (since no wife can possibly divorce even a worthless husband and break up a family), and confronts ``The Other Woman''; but when this proves fruitless, she is reduced, as a friend puts it, to ``shading the sun with one finger.'' Despite the opening disclaimer for American readers that acknowledges that male chauvinism and female submissiveness are exasperating, Reveles has the audacity to suggest that equality is on its way in Mexico while offering no such evidence. Sophomoric descriptions--like Mexican legal secretaries being ``all bosom and thighs mounted on two pins''- -don't help. Hard to digest. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
So close to the border that a gusty wind will send Sra. Mendoza's laundry flying illegally into the U.S., Tecate, Mexico, is a dusty little town where a group of regulars meet on the square to swap stories and watch life stroll by. "I live behind the adobe curtain and I bring you a plate full of chismes. In your country you call them tales." In his debut story collection, this filmmaker and citizen of Tecate, describes small-town life in a place where "what goes up stays up and water runs uphill." But the author wisely steers away from magic realism and concentrates instead on the charm and eccentricities of the characters. In "Of Time and Circumstances," a harried Los Angeles filmmaker longs to meet the funny, erudite attorney, "El Gato," who's helping him buy land in Tecate. But when he finally gets to town, no one will let him meet the man. Mysterious circumstances in "The Miracle" have a number of ranchers wondering why their workers aren't showing up for work and why they're dressed entirely in new clothes. In "The Other Woman," submissive Claudia mourns her husband's waning attentions until she gets some tips from the other woman. As surprising as some of the stories are, they don't match the wit and spark of the book's prologue and epilogue; many of the characters are two-dimensional, and several stories run out of steam. Still, Reveles certainly has a way with words and needs just a little practice to perfect his chismes.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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