Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Morning Reading: The American Book Review: The Latino West

It's about time.

Check out the latest issue of the American Book Review with its special focus: The Latino West.

excerpt from editor Dagoberto Gilb's essay:

...When Americans think of the South, some might think of its white society, Antebellum and post, its white literature, its wealth, yet the black culture is undeniably ever there, present. Others might discuss the history of the South in terms of black people, their history of slavery, their struggle with poverty, as the homeland the the African Americans. This binary is a permanent overlay on the topography of the Southeast region, that quadrangle of the US. It is a black-white that has come to define much of America's internal history. Now consider a comparable Southwest quadrangle, one whose historical binary could be called - should be called - brown and white. We are all taught passionately about the American expansion into the West, cattle drives, cowboys and Indians, John Wayne movies but if someone were to say it is the homeland of Mexican Americans, would anyone associate that with populations in Los Angeles, the state of New Mexico, El Paso, San Antonio, the Rio gradne Valley? Visitors thrill at oversize enchilada plates and bountiful bowls of tortilla chips (Americanisms, both) visits to the seventeenth and early eighteenth century missions and they see and hear the vast numbers of "Mexican" people who speak to them in homegrown English at shops, stores, and stations - and yet, somehow, relaxing in adobe-themed motels or new Spanish villa homes, the binary here is not brown and white but blank and white, the dominant Mexican culture as if from an uninhabited ghost town. Meanwhile what brown people they encounter - what articles appear in the media - are recent immigrants, invaders from the border. Part of American history? Curiously, if we were to assert that we are part of Mexico's history - which nobody here or there ever has or does - that would be far more of an outrage than lament that, unless photographed in folklorico costume, we have no images in our nation's history other than as foreigners.

To read the rest of his essay along with co-editor Ricardo Gilb's and to view the Table of Contents, click here.

Contributors include: Yxta Maya Murray, David Dorado Romo, Josefina López, Oscar Villalon, Michael Jaime-Becerra, Sheryl Luna, Hector Cantú, Ricardo Gilb, Diana López, Alex Espinoza, Christine Granados, Rene Perez and me, Lisa Alvarez.



Anonymous said...

Going to go buy my copy now.

ACuriousMind said...

Glad to learn of this review.

For some quick reading on line, i found this site with intereting latino fiction:

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