Synopses & Reviews
In his first foray into short fiction, award-winning poet and memoirist Jimmy Santiago Baca maps the territory where old-world traditions contend with new-world ambitions and disenfranchised characters struggle to make something of themselves in the world while somehow keeping their souls intact. In the title story, two siblings must face the brother who has betrayed them by selling his share of the family land and forsaking a centuries-old land grant, leaving an entire community vulnerable. In "The Three Sons of Julia," a long-suffering mother whose one request is that all her sons come home to the barrio for the Fourth of July watches her dream shatter as two of her sons--one a successful businessman with a white wife and the other a hard-drinking ex-con--nearly destroy her house, and each other, by the night's end. In "Runaway," a young orphan discovers the consolations of fraternity when he is forced to care for a boy whose circumstances are even more dire than his own. Merging a refreshing innocence with a profound understanding of the world's brutality, "The Importance of a Piece of Paper is a daring and arresting work that is at once fearless, tender, and inspiring.