Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

The Realm of Hungry Spirits

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

The Realm of Hungry Spirits

Article excerpt

The Realm of Hungry Spirits

by Lorraine López

2011, 330 pages. ISBN 978- 0-446-54963-9. $13.99, paper. Grand Central Publishing

The Realm of Hungry Spirits is about lies and truths, doubts and faith, searching and having. Lopez's characters are just like people we've only just seen on the street. The characters are stereotypes, flat and soulless. But isn't this our first impression of any person we just met? We look at their clothes, hair, shoes and scent. Only with time do we begin to see beyond the superficial, Only after speaking with someone can one begin to see beyond the first impression.

This is a book of metaphors and, just like the piñatas the children are making, the characters of the book, as seen through Marina's eye, are hard to identify beyond the obvious. Halfway through the story, "the piñatas are not yet dry enough to affix the tissue paper." Neither is the reader or the protagonist ready to see and recognize who the people around her are. '"That's a great pig,' I tell the group. ... 'Is no pig. Is the girl at the ball, la Cenicienta.'" Just like the protagonist, the reader misidentifles the characters, taking them at first blush, so that the recovered drug addict 'vato' can't possibly have much to offer beyond holding it together. …

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