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By John Phillip Santos

Finalist for the nationwide e-book Award!In this superbly wrought memoir, award-winning author John Philip Santos weaves jointly dream fragments, relations remembrances, and Chicano mythology, attaining again into time and position to mixture the tale of 1 Mexican relations with the soul of a whole humans. the tale unfolds via a festival of unforgettable kin figures: from Madrina--touched with epilepsy and prophecy ever considering the fact that, as a woman, she observed a demise soul depart its body--to Teofilo, who was once abducted as an baby and raised through the Kikapu Indians of Northern Mexico. on the middle of the e-book is Santos' look for the that means of his grandfather's suicide in San Antonio, Texas, in 1939. half treasury of the elders, half elegy, half own odyssey, this can be an immigration story and a haunting relatives tale that gives a wealthy, magical view of Mexican-American tradition.

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Then, mom advised me. She closed her bed room door at the back of her, and spoke in a hushed, whispered voice. She sought after me to grasp my father’s outburst at his mom and dad’ grave had come from a really deep position. Abuelo Juan José had dedicated suicide. She stated that on one morning in 1939, Abuelo were lacking, and everyone was once out trying to find him. Uncles and aunts, even friends. it seems that, it used to be Daddy, together with his uncle Chale, who chanced on him useless, floating, drowned within the San Antonio River the place it crosses Roosevelt Park, close to the outdated Lone big name brewery, at the south part of city. My father was once twenty-two years outdated. status there with mom, the home windows vibrant with Texas solar, the air of the home chilled with air-conditioned calm, all of the many years appeared to telescope right into a second. maybe my father, besides the remainder of the family members, felt it used to be their encargo to undergo the tale in silence, as though we would vanquish anything darkish in our hearts by means of breaking the webs of telling and retelling that informed us who we have been, the place we got here from, and why we have been the following. In that second, I felt a pang of the phobia of drowning I had consistently had deep inside me. by surprise, it swept via me just like the shadow of an unknown reminiscence. the 1st time I had felt it, i used to be swimming within the Guadalupe River, in New Braunfels, north of San Antonio. My legs had gotten tangled within the lengthy, undulating plumes of weeds within the eco-friendly water by way of the financial institution. I felt myself falling and falling, as though from a tremendous tree that stretched up into the deep blue ether of the sky. I observed ribbons of bright shades popping out from every thing of my physique, the faces of family, Padrino Julín who stored me as soon as from choking on a gumball, pals, and a few faces i didn't realize. The Aztecs believed there has been a separate a part of paradise, Tlalocan, that used to be reserved for the souls of these who died by means of drowning. Now i used to be falling into that ageless heaven of the drowned. It was once as though this hint of my grandfather were left within me—a flash of lightning at the back of my eyes, my mind hungry for air within the murky water. And prior to a chum pulled me out of that river, I had a glimpse of a without borders fog as previous as evening. i didn't recognize then that Grandfather had dwelled there, that contained in the fog used to be additionally a hidden time, a misplaced tune, a mystery archive of the soul of our relations. Abuelo Juan José, like many others who have been pressured to come back north throughout the revolution, by no means appeared proud of lifestyles within the usa. He neglected the dusty sierra cities of Coahuila, and he didn’t really like elevating his teenagers in San Antonio. He seldom allowed them to play with different youngsters at any place yet on the condominium. If he took his little ones to the flicks on the Texas Theater on Houston highway, with cash brief, he wouldn't subscribe to them for the movie, yet he might wait on a bench open air till the movie was once over. He by no means spoke greater than a bit English, he felt awkward exhibiting affection, and he as a rule communicated together with his gaze. you usually knew no matter if he intended approval or fury incidentally he checked out you.

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