Rudolfo A. Anaya: A Critical Companion

Rudolfo A. Anaya: A Critical Companion

Rudolfo A. Anaya: A Critical Companion

Rudolfo A. Anaya: A Critical Companion

Synopsis

Rudolfo A. Anaya's seven novels can all be viewed in terms of the Chicano literary tradition though their rich texts have earned Anaya a place of respect in mainstream modern American literature. Fernandez Olmos guides the reader through Anaya's literary world with clear signposts, illuminating the mythical, cultural, and linguistic complexities of his astounding stories. From his coming of age masterpiece Bless Me, Ultima (1972) to his most recent work Shaman Winter (1999) Anaya's writing with its rich spiritual symbolism is brought down to earth and made accessible to the student reader by Fernandez Olmos insightful analyses. This work devotes a chapter to each novel, enabling Fernandez Olmos to guide the reader through each, showing both the patterns and variations of literary devices in Anaya's works, while offering interesting alternative interpretations of Anaya's writing.

Fernandez Olmos presents a well-researched chapter on the life of Rudolfo Anaya, familiarizing readers with his Hispanic cultural background which figures so prominently in his writing. A chapter on Anaya and the Chicano literary tradition deepens the reader's understanding and appreciation of the writer's tremendous contributions. Fernández Olmos then devotes a full chapter to each of the novels, Bless Me, Ultima, Heart of Aztlán, Tortuga, and Alberqueque; his detective novels, Zia Summer and Rio Grande Fall; and his modern-day parable Jalamanta: A Message from the Desert. Student readers and researchers will find the bibliography which includes reviews, criticisms, and other secondary sources to be very helpful.

Excerpt

The authors who appear in the series Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers are all best-selling writers. They do not simply have one successful novel, but a string of them. Fans, critics, and specialist readers eagerly anticipate their next book. For some, high cash advances and breakthrough sales figures are automatic; movie deals often follow. Some writers become household names, recognized by almost everyone.

But, their novels are read one by one. Each reader chooses to start and, more importantly, to finish a book because of what she or he finds there. The real test of a novel is in the satisfaction its readers experience. This series acknowledges the extraordinary involvement of readers and writers in creating a best-seller.

The authors included in this series were chosen by an Advisory Board composed of high school English teachers and high school and public librarians. They ranked a list of best-selling writers according to their popularity among different groups of readers. For the first series, writers in the top-ranked group who had received no book-length, academic, literary analysis (or none in at least the past ten years) were chosen. Because of this selection method, Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers meets a need that is being addressed nowhere else. The success of these volumes as reported by reviewers, librarians, and teachers led to an expansion of the series mandate to include some writ-

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