The Skull of Pancho Villa and Other Stories
My collection of short stories is set for publication by Arte Público Press on March 31, 2015. Needless to say, I am tickled brown. The collection is entitled The Skull of Pancho Villa and Other Stories. To get you in the mood for this upcoming book, here's the copy prepared by the press for its Spring 2015 catalog:
Legend has it that Pancho Villa’s grave was robbed–and his head stolen–in 1926. A gringo is credited with the theft, but Gus Corral’s great-grandfather was there too. As often happens to Chicanos, his role was given short shrift. But the Corral family has taken care of the skull for as long as Gus can remember. It’s a jolt when “Panchito” is stolen from his sister’s house. He knows he will have to get to the bottom of the disappearance, even if it means tangling with thieves and thugs.
A variety of characters–writers, attorneys, Vietnam vets, cops, soldiers–populate these stories in which situations frequently aren’t what they seem. An old man knows more about the disappearance of a neighbor than he lets on. A barber is involved in something that brings a ski-mask wearing, gun-toting hoodlum into his shop. And a cop accused of using excessive force hasn’t told his family the whole truth.
Many of these gripping stories feature Mexican Americans struggling with their circumstances as an ethnic minority in the United States. Others cover historical events, from the Mexican Revolution to an encounter with Jack Kerouac. All spotlight Ramos’ artistry and dexterity as he shifts from noir to historical and even flash fiction. Spanning his acclaimed writing career, this volume includes Ramos’ first story published in 1986, which features an attorney who served as the prototype for Luis Móntez, the protagonist in five of his award-winning novels.
Thanks to Marina Tristan of Arte Público for the write-up.
And here's a short but very sweet review from noted author Luis Alberto Urrea:
The Godfather of Chicano noir hits us hard with this collection. Great range, dark visions, and lots of mojo—much of it bad to the bone. A fine book!
Mil gracias Luis.
I'll be setting up a variety of events to promote the book but for now I can announce that I will read from the collection and sign copies at the Tattered Cover (Colfax location in Denver) on April 9 at 7:00 P.M. Hope to see you there.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
NO HABLO INGLÉS
WHEN THE AIR CONDITIONER QUIT
WHITE DEVILS AND COCKROACHES
WHEN PIGS FLY AND MONKEYS TALK
THE SKULL OF PANCHO VILLA
IF WE HAD BEEN DANCING
BAD HAIRCUT DAY
THE SMELL OF ONIONS
THE SCENT OF TERRIFIED ANIMALS
THE 405 IS LOCKED DOWN
THE TRUTH IS
WHY BOSTON IS HIS FAVORITE TOWN
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY
LA VISIÓN DE MI MADRE
This has been a difficult week, for a number of reasons. Two of those reasons relevant to La Bloga include that our community lost a unique and vibrant Latina literary voice with the passing of Michele Serros; and then the world lost multiple voices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. So far the new year has been anything but happy.
But on second thought, none of these voices is lost. Michele's work will last forever. Her popular and witty writing guarantees that immortality.
And the worldwide unified response to the Parisian murders assures us that creative dissent cannot be silenced. In fact, the magazine announced that it will defy its attackers and publish a special edition with a print run of a million copies next week. Surviving columnist Patrick Pelloux said the magazine would bring out a "survivors' issue" next Wednesday to show that "stupidity will not win."
Writers, artists, all creative people must stand together against the forces that seek to muzzle free expression, divergent points of view, criticism, and opinion.