Fernandez Olmos, Margarite. Rudolfo A. Anaya: A Critical Companion

Article excerpt

Westport, Conn.: Greenwood P, 1999. 162 pp. ISBN 1082-4979

Margarite Fernández Olmos has done a superb job of analyzing the amazing works of Rudolfo A. Anaya. In Chapter One she gives the reader an inward view of Rudolfo's childhood experiences growing up in New Mexico. In doing this, Fernández Olmos gives the reader insight to young Rudolfo's childhood and his literary background which is very useful to help the reader better understand his novels. She writes that some of his childhood experiences came to be topics or themes in his works, and she informs the reader that his works were affected by his experiences in life.

At the beginning of each chapter Fernández Olmos presents a short summary and/or interpretation of the novel she is about to analyze. She then analyzes the novel in a well researched manner separating topics under different headings.

In Chapter Two the author gives the reader the history of Chicano literature. In the subsections entitled U.S. Hispanic culture and Contemporary Chicano literature she informs the reader about how Chicano literature emerged and how Chicanos wanted to be recognized. They just did not want to be oppressed by the dominant culture. Following the topic on the history of Chicano literature, Fernández Olmos then sizes Anaya's novels starting with his first three, which are intertwined. She concludes the chapter with short summaries of Iris most recent works, which are detective fiction.

Chapter three focuses, through her insightful analyses, on Anaya's best-known novel Bless Me, Ultima (1972), which is also his first novel. Fernández Olmos's thorough research on Hispanic culture, values and beliefs is clearly present not only in this but in all of the chapters as well.

Chapters Four and Five ate dedicated to those two books which are linked to Bless Me, Ultima. …