Reviews of Three Books Written by Latino/a Writers

4.0 out of 5 stars A Muli-Layered Complex Piece of Fiction, March 23, 2016
By Sherrie Miranda
Verified Purchase from Amazom
This review is for: In Evil Hour   51BqUklY9IL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
I bought this book a while ago when I realized that there still was at least one book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez that I hadn’t read.
I understand that this may have been his first published novel, long before his infamous “100 Years of Solitude.” Garcia Marquez is never an easy read though his short stories are best if you are new to his writing.
“In Evil Hour” is a layered story of a town in turmoil. Someone is the town is making billboards with the townspeople’s secrets on them. It is a fascinating idea, but it is the kind of book that needs to be read in a class or a reader’s club in order to capture all the nuances of the story. One reviewer said it needs to be read more than once. Although I agree, I am not the kind of person to re-read anything.
I enjoyed all the interesting characters, but sometimes had trouble remembering who was who. If I find anymore of Garcia Marquez’s books that I haven’t read, I think I will look for someone to read along with me. Someone to help me get all there is to get from this author of complex, multi-layered fiction.
RIP Sir Gabriel Garcia Marquez. You deserve it!
Sherrie Miranda is the author of “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador”

3.0 out of 5 stars
Rich in Metaphor & Nuance, Probably best read in a class or readers’ group, March 23, 2016
By Sherrie Miranda
This review is for: Short Stories by Latin American Women: The Magic and the Real
This book was a real mixed bag. Although many of the Latina writers have published novels that are excellent, their short stories often left you wondering about their skills in this arena. Or maybe it is the reader who needs more skills or understanding of life in Latin America? I can’t discount them for my possible lack.
There were a few very well-written stories that I enjoyed immensely. Then there were the horror stories you wish you hadn’t read, like “Death And Transfiguration of A Teacher” in which the female students killed, cut up & ate their sensitive and poetic teacher! I get the allusion. As a teacher myself, I often referred to the fresh new teachers as being eaten alive by the students, but still, it was not the kind of story one wants to read before going to sleep.
Most of the stories were quite rewarding, though I would have preferred to have discussed each story in a classroom or group situation as I think I would have gotten more out of them.
Such seems to be the way of Latino authors, both male and female. They are so rich with metaphor and nuance that they are meant to be read in a group where they can be discussed.

4.0 out of 5 stars
The (Super) Reality of This Story Makes It Very Disturbing  41f9DtwhADL._AA160_.jpg
Reviewed By Sherrie Miranda
This review is for: Distant Star by Roberto Bolaño
This novel is so surreal (super real) that it makes it very disturbing to read. We, North Americans tend to want stories that have a clearly happy ending. We prefer not to know about evil people, and certainly don’t want to know that evil people can go on and have a great life where no one knows how evil they have been.
Such is the case with Alberto Ruiz-Tagle (AKA Carlos Weider) who the narrator follows around and slowly learns that Weider did Pinochet’s dirty work. He tortured many people who ended up in mass graves. The unnamed narrator becomes more and more obsessed with proving who this man is, even if only to himself. He, in fact, becomes so disturbed and paranoid with who Weider is and who he has become that he no longer trusts his best friend with the knowledge. Despite the fact that his poet friend, like he, are the opposite of Weider: they believe in justice and freedom and abhor the Right’s idea that those who have their own mind, should be killed.
The narrator seems to be unable to go back to being that innocent, loving poet, especially after he realizes that Weider killed the beautiful twins that had parties for the Leftist Poets.
Weider (going by Ruiz-Tagle) tricked the women because he was a poet and they innately trust the poet as a person of great depth and beauty.
Personally, once I knew this man could kill two such kind souls, I hated the guy so much, I wanted him to die. I hoped the narrator would kill him, but alas, he does not have a murderer’s heart so instead, he becomes more and more obsessed.
I almost wish I could undo what I read in this book. Sadly, many Latinos live with this knowledge everyday: Knowing a murderous torturer may be their neighbor, yet unable to do anything about it. This was a story that needed to be told.
Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
http://tinyurl.com/klxbt4y
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

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