“Let me begin at the beginning. I do not mean the beginning that was in my dreams and the stories they whispered to me about my birth, and the people of my father and mother, and my three brothers,” writes Anaya. “But the beginning that came with Ultima.” Anaya’s character of Ultima has toppled barriers and transcended time; she is as infinite as the landscape of weathered llanos along the Southwest. And fortunately for us, Don Rudy continues to craft such memorable characters.
Widely recognized as the Godfather of Chicano Literature, Anaya’s prolific writings have breathed life into the canon of American Literature and abroad for nearly four decades. Although revered mostly for his award winning first novel, “Bless Me, Ultima,” and his pioneering quartet of Sonny Baca mysteries, Anaya has also penned a mixture of short stories of the highest order. In, “The Man Who Could Fly and Other Stories,” fans, for the first time will have the pleasure of indulging into a supreme collection of 18 stories spanning thirty years.
The stories in, “The Man…,” some previously published in the ever elusive and long out of print, “The Silence of the Llano,” may very well showcase Anaya at his finest. Intermingled with poignant folklore, religion, magic, and spirituality, readers of all walks of life now have an opportunity to join Anaya as he travels among people and places not often found in his novels. Undeniably influenced by the cuentos of his youth, Anaya’s stories cease to be merely words in print, but rather voices which will echo long after the book is shelved. In the title story, The Man Who Could Fly, we are reminded of the power of magic by way of an ill-fated loss of a rancher and his land. My personal favorite, B. Traven Is Alive and Well in Cuernavaca, features a writer who finds his muse in the enigmatic legend of B. Traven, the author of the classic, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” In what likely will be considered the most touching story, The Silence of the Llano, introduces us to Rafael, a ranchero whose life is shattered in the wake of his wife’s death while giving birth to their daughter; it will take sixteen years and another tragedy until they both find closure and solace. Que Viva Anaya!!!
The Man Who Could Fly and Other Stories by Rudolfo Anaya; University of Oklahoma Press, 2006