Monday, July 03, 2006

Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa

Monday's post from Daniel Olivas...

Poet, novelist, children’s author, book reviewer and creative-writing teacher, Rigoberto González, has promoted other Latino/a writers with a selflessness and vigor not usually witnessed in the exceedingly competitive world of publishing. Soon, his first memoir, Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa, will be published by the University of Wisconsin Press. As I anxiously await my copy of this new book, I wanted to make note of it and let you know what Publishers Weekly has to say:

This moving memoir of a young Chicano boy's maturing into a self-accepting gay adult is a beautifully executed portrait of the experience of being gay, Chicano and poor in the United States. Now an associate professor of English and Latino studies at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Gonzalez writes in a poetic yet straightforward style that heightens the power of his story (mariposa is Spanish for "faggot" as well as butterfly). As he describes growing up in an extended migrant-worker family, his youth in Bakersfield, Calif., and his departure for college, some readers may recognize similar characters and situations from his 2003 novel, Crossing Vines (University of Oklahoma). Like other gay coming-of-age memoirs, this one recounts the hardship of being an effeminate youth with a high singing voice and a penchant for cross-dressing, and the delight in discovering the homoeroticism of classic literature by Melville and E.M. Forster. But Gonzalez transforms these standard conceits into an affecting narrative in which his class and ethnic identities are as vital as his often painful metamorphosis into a fully formed gay man.

A CITY FOR TERESITA: Luis Alberto Urrea's magnificent novel, The Hummingbird's Daughter (Back Bay Books), is this year's selection for the One City One Book: San Francisco Reads program, a citywide book club, Mayor Gavin Newsom's office announced. As many of you know, the novel traces the life of Teresita, a woman born in Mexico and gifted with healing powers and the ability to inspire revolution in others. Urrea, a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist, based the book on the life of his great-aunt. Events and discussions about the book will take place this fall.

BRAZILIAN RHYTHM: My review of Kathleen de Azevedo's wonderfully dark novel, Samba Dreamers (Univeristy of Arizona Press), appeared in Sunday's El Paso Times. And yes, I will quote myself: "Samba Dreamers is a dark, fantastical and, indeed, brilliant cautionary tale for those who search out paradise without first confronting -- and defeating -- their inner demons. If Nathanael West had been Brazilian, The Day of the Locust would have looked a lot like Samba Dreamers. De Azevedo is a remarkable new literary voice."

WAR ON DRUGS: Book editor for the El Paso Times, Ramón Rentería, reviews Cops, Soldiers and Diplomats: Explaining Agency Behavior in the War on Drugs (Lexington Books), by Tony Payan. It’s a sobering book where “Payan concludes that the United States has spent billions since 1969 fighting what he describes as a flawed campaign against drug smuggling.”

All done. This was a short one today because our son had surgery on Friday so things have been a bit crazy around here. But he's doing well and soon I hope to post the many news items I've received from readers of La Bloga. So, until next Monday, enjoy the intervening posts from my compadres y comadre at La Bloga. ¡Lea un libro!


Don Chu said...

nice site.

daniel olivas said...

thank you. by the way, by day, i'm a government lawyer (went to ucla law school). hasta.

Marta said...

Dan, thanks for the book reviews. I caught your thoughtful review of Samba Dreams on the El Paso Times website.

Best thoughts to you and your family -- and hoping Ben's recovery is smooth.

Also, regarding your other life, as an attorney, thanks for all your work saving our coastline!

La Bloga said...

...thank you, marta. ben is getting there but still in much pain. and good luck on the book launch for "happy hour at casa dracula." wish i could be there.