Synopses & Reviews
With the same audacity with which John Steinbeck wrote about migrant worker conditions in The Grapes of Wrath and T.C. Boyle in The Tortilla Curtain, Viramontes (The Moths and Other Stories) presents a moving and powerful vision of the lives of the men, women, and children who endure a second-class existence and labor under dangerous conditions in California's fields. This first novel tells the story a young girl, Estrella, and her Latino family as they struggle with arduous farm labor during the summer months, and still manage to latch onto the hope of a liberating future. Viramontes graces the page with poetic touch, artfully describing poverty conditions and bringing to the reader a panoramic view of social consciousness and unforgettable characters.
Helena Maria Viramontes' highly acclaimed first novel is a moving and powerful vision of the lives of the men, women, and children who endure a second-class existence and labor under dangerous conditions in America's fields.
Winner of the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature
With the same audacity with which John Steinbeck wrote about migrant worker conditions inThe Grapes of Wrathand T.C. Boyle inThe Tortilla Curtain, Viramontes presents a moving and powerful vision of the lives of the men, women, and children who endure a second-class existence and labor under dangerous conditions in California's fields.
At the center of this powerful tale is Estrella, a girl about to cross the perilous border to womanhood. What she knows of life comes from her mother, who has survived abandonment by her husband in a land that treats her as if she were invisible, even though she and her children pick the crops of the farms that feed its people. But within Estrella, seeds of growth and change are stirring. And in the arms of Alejo, they burst into a full, fierce flower as she tastes the joy and pain of first love. Pushed to the margins of society, she learns to fight back and is able to help the young farmworker she loves when his ambitions and very life are threatened in a harvest of death.
Infused with the beauty of the California landscape and shifting splendors of the passing seasons juxtaposed with the bleakness of poverty, this vividly imagined novel is worthy of the people it celebrates and whose story it tells so magnificently. The simple lyrical beauty of Viramontes' prose, her haunting use of image and metaphor, and the urgency of her themes all announce Under the Feat of Jesus as a landmark work of American fiction."
A novel of cultural clashes, social injustice, and love amongst the migrant farm workers of contemporary California, as seen through the eyes of a young Mexican-American woman.
About the Author
Helena Maria Viramontes is the author of the novel Under the Feet of Jesus and the story collection The Moths. Born and raised in East Los Angeles, California, Ms. Viramontes currently lives in Ithaca, New York, where she is a creative writing professor at Cornell University.