December 10, 2012

REVIEW: MAS QUE NO LOVE IT: Cuentos / Short Stories by Jim Sagel

  
West End Press, Bilingual Fiction, Chicano Studies


Sagel knows the voices of his people. Well, I should say, his adoptive people. A transplant from Colorado, Sagel fell in love with a local girl and stayed, only to find himself falling in love with her people as well.

His stories are passionate, emotional, and full of local color and idioms. His stories invite you to pull up a chair and stay a while -- a little cafecito, a little juicy gossip.

Sagel introduces us to the colorful, dynamic characters that have populated New Mexico for centuries, before the gringos ever even thought of getting on a boat and crossing over to this side of the pond.

There’s Tia Juana who was hypochondriac and died during the “dripping season;” Tia Tomasita who knew the Sangre de Cristo mountains like the back of her hand but who got lost in the maze of streets in town; Pifi, the Korean vet, who loved his one-eyed roster more than his wife; Grandma who made a promise to el Santo Niño when grandpa was ill and so the whole family is on a pilgrimage to el Santuario; Gus-de-la-vecina, whom mama had a crush on; el compadre Carlos who died tragically; la Bruja, who is actually a man and a popular artist; and his friend, the late Joe Hurts, whose drunken friends accidentally tipped over the coffin.

This sparkling collection is bilingual, with the stories both in English and Spanish.###



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jim Sagel was a young teacher in the public schools when he met the young weaver Teresa Archuleta, soon to become his wife. As a condition of their marriage Sagel agreed to live in the family household, in the midst of a century-long tradition of storytellers and artisans. He honed his Spanish to the point that his collection of stories TUNOMAS, HONEY won the coveted Casa de las Americas prize in 1981 (think Pulitzer). Author of five story collections and a volume of collected poems, Sagel died tragically in 1998.