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Other titles in the Camino del Sol series:
Western Avenue and Other Fictions (Camino del Sol)by Fred Arroyo
Synopses & Reviews
In these engaging and often gripping short stories, Fred Arroyo takes us into the lives of working-class Hispanic migrants and immigrants, who are often invisible while they work in plain sight across America. As characters intertwine and evolve across stories, Arroyo creates a larger narrative that dramatizes the choices we make to create identity, make meaning, and deal with hardships and loss. His stories are linked by a concern with borders, both real and imagined, and the power that memory and imagination have to shape and structure our lives.
Through his characters and their true-to-life situations, Arroyo makes visible both internal and external conflicts that are deeply rooted in--and affected by--place. A bodega, a university town, a factory, a Chicago street, some dusty potato fields: here is where we encounter ordinary people who work, dream, love, and persist in the face of violence, bereavement, disappointment, and loss--particularly the loss of mothers, fathers, and loved ones.
Arroyo's characters experience a strange wonder as the midwestern United States increasingly appears to be a place created by the Latinas and Latinos who remain out of the sight and minds of Anglos. In lyrical language weighted by detail, exquisite imagery, and evocative story, Arroyo imagines characters who confront the tattered connections between memory and longing, generations and geographies, place and displacement, as they begin to feel their own longings, "breathing in whatever was offered, feeling, deep in the small and fragile borders of my heart," as one character puts it, "that it came with a sorrow I could never betray."
"Arroyo's short stories depict the daily life of migrant workers in the U.S. struggling with identity and trying to find self-worth within the industrial world that thrives on their anonymity. Alternating between longer narratives and brief sensory glimpses of work, relationships, and memories, these stories confront characters with consistent bouts of failure, withering ambition, and separation from their homes and families. While the circumstances may differ, an overarching atmosphere of loneliness and longing comes to unify what at first seems disconnected. Arroyo returns intermittently to the same characters: we first meet Boogaloo in 'A Case of Consolation'; having lost contact with his friends and family, he's working at a Caribbean restaurant in Chicago. Arroyo (The Region of Lost Names) reintroduces him later, in 'Acceptance,' intertwining him into accounts of Chango and Evelyn, a married couple who've lost their connection. Chango and Evelyn's son, Ernest, is another recurring narrator; having been raised in hopeless conditions, he has little memory of the past to salve his present, working from field to factory. In the title story, Ernest dreams of finding a chance to leave — a dream that is always just out of reach for his relatives. A melancholy read, Arroyo's stories paint a vivid picture of the migrant class, shining light on those frequently forgotten." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In this soulful collection of short stories, Arroyo shows us internal and external conflicts that are deeply rooted in—and affected by—place. A bodega, a university town, a factory, a Chicago street, some dusty potato fields: here is where we encounter ordinary people who work, dream, love, and persist in the face of violence, bereavement, disappointment, and loss—particularly the loss of mothers, fathers, and loved ones.
About the Author
Fred Arroyo lives in southern California and teaches at Whittier College. He is the author of the novel The Region of Lost Names, also published by the University of Arizona Press.
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