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Brownsville: Stories

by Oscar Casares

Back Bay Books
March 2003
ISBN: 0316146803


No matter what your background or station, there is something to be gained from experiencing the simplicity and clarity of life in the tiny border town of Brownsville, TX.

This collection of short stories takes place in no specific time, but the events described are sufficiently universal to appeal to anyone of any age.

Each short story contains a firsthand account of one tiny slice of Brownsville life, incorporating lessons in pride, growing up, and the conflicts arising between personal belief and human interaction. Implicit in these tales are the age-old ethics and moral values of the Hispanic-American community as they manifest themselves in American culture. But aside from the messages, each story tells an engaging and plausible tale that draws you toward the next.

One story presents a young boy's first experience at work, and finding justice in his dealings with an overbearing, rude, and petty employer. Another, revolving around a hammer, demonstrates the silent conflicts that arise from mismatch between neighbors' unspoken codes of interpersonal conduct. Another covers a man's solitary quest for redemption in the eyes of God, and within himself. No matter what the subject, each story contains a character or personality with which we are familiar - perhaps sometimes even within ourselves.

Casares' uncluttered, direct style imparts his folk wisdom in the engaging manner of a campfire storyteller. So whether the tale is centered around a stolen bowling ball, a dismembered monkey head, or a neighbor's noisy dog, the story will draw you in leaving you to ponder the message.

Andrew Lasda - Staff Features Writer


Mike Doughty



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