Stories From A Life Lived Along The Border
de Octavio Solis
Sobre o livro
Called one of the Best Books of Fall 2018 by Buzzfeed, The Millions, and the CBC!
The tradition of retablo painting dates back to the Spanish Conquest in both Mexico and the U.S. Southwest. Humble ex-votos, retablos are usually painted on repurposed metal, and in one small tableau they tell the story of a crisis, and offer thanks for its successful resolution.
In this uniquely framed memoir, playwright Octavio Solis channels his youth in El Paso, Texas. Like traditional retablos, the rituals of childhood and rites of passage are remembered as singular, dramatic events, self-contained episodes with life-changing reverberations.
Living in a home just a mile from the Rio Grande, Octavio is a skinny brown kid on the border, growing up among those who live there, and those passing through on their way North. From the first terrible self-awareness of racism to inspired afternoons playing air trumpet with Herb Alpert, from an innocent game of hide-and-seek to the discovery of a Mexican girl hiding in the cotton fields, Solis reflects on the moments of trauma and transformation that shaped him into a man.
Praise for Octavio Solis'sRetablos:
"In this debut memoir, playwright Solis delivers top-notch vignettes of his youth with riveting imagery and empathy, recounting--and embellishing, he says--memories of growing up brown in El Paso, Tex. . . . These brilliantly told stories of missteps and redemption are a treat."--Publishers Weekly
"The experience of reading his tightly contained memories in succession is a bit like drawing old coins up from a wishing well. Filtered through veils of distance and time, these scenes and reflections are wonderful and weird flashes of childhood, adolescence and early adulthood in the life of this particular Mexican American boy."--Sophie Haigney,San Francisco Chronicle
"Unpretentiously and with an unerring accuracy of tone and rhythm, Solis slowly builds what amounts to a storybook cathedral. We inhabit a border world rich in characters, lush with details, playful and poignant, a border that refutes the stereotypes and divisions smaller minds create. Solis reminds us that sometimes the most profound truths are best told with crafted fictions--and he is a master at it."--Julia Alvarez, author ofHow the García Girls Lost Their Accents
" . . . it's hard not to consider the border itself as a representation of a 'terrible rift,' a split between homes, communities, identities, generations. While reading this generous and eye-opening account, it's easy to see how, for the country at large, the rift has only deepened.--Arianna Rebolini, Buzzfeed Best Books of Fall 2018
" These stories soar and shimmer with poetry and a playwright's gift for dramatic compression, comedy and pathos running through them arm in arm.Retablosis deeply moving, and a joy."--Elizabeth McKenzie, author ofThe Portable Veblen: A Novel
"To enter into this book is like walking into a shrine, walls lined with beautiful paintings, each one colorful and visceral, depicting memories, life on the border, death and sadness and joy. This is one of the most memorable books written about the borderlands in years"—Daniel Chacón, author ofHotel Juárez: Stories, Rooms and Loops
" Small but mighty, these stories will stay with you long after the moment has passed."—Frances Lefkowitz, author ofTo Have Not: A Memoir