Synopses & Reviews
For poet Ray Gonzalez, growing up in El Paso during the 1960s was a time of loneliness and vulnerability. He encountered discrimination in high school not only for being Latino but also for being a non-athlete in a school where sports were important. Like many young people, he found diversion in music; unlike most, he found solace in the desert. In these vignettes, Gonzalez shares memories of boyhood that tell how he discovered the natural world and his creative spirit. Through 29 storylike essays, he takes readers into the heart of the desert and the soul of a developing poet. Gonzalez introduces us to the people who shaped his life. We learn of his father's difficulties with running a pool hall and of his grandmother's steadfast religious faith. We meet sinister Texas Rangers, hallucinatory poets, illegal aliens, and racist high school jocks. His vivid recollections embrace lizard hunts and rattlesnake dreams, rock music and menudo makingall in stories that convey the pains and joys of growing up on the border. As Gonzalez leads us through his desert of hope and vision, we come to recognize the humor and sadness that permeate this special place.
Border Regional Library Association honors Ray Gonzalez for lifetime contributions to literature of the Southwest!" "A haunted book, in the best sense of the term. . . . He brings readers into a realm of rattlesnake dreams, UFOs, inscrutable lizards, a haunted house and a vast panorama of desert dwellers. . . . Gonzalez sees the past in all its grandeur and all its ruin." Albuquerque Journal "Readers who want to wake up y oler la cafe brewed by the Chicano literary movement would do well to keep Ray Gonzalez high on their reading lists." Dallas Morning News "His poet's eye captures the colors and silences of the desert, while his lively sense of humor and his unfailing honesty show us a desert boy's life. . . . A rich kaleidoscope of life in the Southwest becomes immediate for the reader." Rocky Mountain News "Profoundly contemplative, often lyrical, and sometimes humorous, Memory Fever is a work rich in images of El Paso, of family life, student life and religious cultureand of the desert, a place both beautiful and fearsome...Gonzalez is a writer of rare depth and sensitivity." El Paso Times
About the Author
Ray Gonzalez is a professor of literature at the University of Minnesota, he is the author of 14 books and has also edited more than a dozen anthologies of poetry and fiction and is the recipient of the Carr P. Collins/Texas Institute of Letters Award, the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award, the Western Heritage Award, the Latino Heritage Award, and the Minnesota Book Award.