Monday, July 14, 2014

Just finished Tim Z. Hernandez' beautiful novel Manaña Means Heaven.  It's about the love affair between Jack Kerouac and Bea Franco, a relationship mentioned briefly in Kerouac's On the Road.   This novel masterfully mixes fiction and fact, due to Hernandez' years of prodigious research and interviews with Bea Franco and her family.  The novel explores farm labor in California's central valley, familial loyalty and dishonor, and the pursuit of self-preservation in the most dire of circumstances.  What I loved most is that the gargantuan scribe Kerouac mythology that we've all come to know is muted in this book.  As a matter of fact, Hernandez portrays him only on a few occasions scribbling in a notebook.  In other words, the story is about Bea Franco and her relentless spirit and passion.  I can honestly say that I was driven to tears at least twice while reading this book.  Grab it!

Other books I'm reading:
Federico Garcia Lorca: Impossible Theater
Stigmata: Escaping Texts by Helene Cixous
Selected Poems by Tomas Transtromer
Sermons and Homilies of the Christ of Elqui by Nicanor Parra
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Books I want to read:
Give It to Me by Ana Castillo
from unincorporated territory [guma'] by Craig Santos Perez
Angels of the Americlypse, ed. Carmen Gimenez Smith and John Chavez

Please support the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize Initiative by doing the following: CLICK HERE.

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