coming-of-age in a Chicago neighborhood and her gradual realization that she is meant to be a writer. The book has been compared to Galarza Barrio Boy and to Rivera . . . Y no se lo trago la tierra, although Cisneros's world is a heterogeneous one, devoid of the pureza ethic of her male predecessors. Renato Rosaldo's comment on Mango Street also holds true for Cisneros second collection of short stories, Woman Hollering Creek ( 1991):
What culture is losing in coherence and in "pureza" it is gaining in range and engagement. The politics of culture found in these short story cycles moves toward terrain of borders, spaces that readily include African-Americans, Anglos, schools, workplaces, and heterogeneous changing neighborhoods. (93)
Neither Mexican nor American, the hybrid persona of the narrator (a Merican), this modern Malinche, taboo-free, open-minded, and resilient like her famous ancestor, is negotiating a modus vivendi between her deep-rooted affinity to her own people (Mexicans and Mexican Americans) and the everyday reality of the Anglo-American world in which she was born and is living.
In her epistolary novel The Mixquiahuala Letters ( 1986), dedicated to the memory of the Argentinian writer Julio Cortázar, Ana Castillo also crosses physical, spiritual, and sexual borders, observing and recording the limitations inherent to both the Anglo-American and the Mexican cultures. Combining the subjective and the objective narratives in a quasi-ethnographic manner, the writer keeps a certain aloofness from each of the two societies, as well as from the Chicano community, for that matter. More recently, Castillo published So Far from God ( 1993), a novel set in contemporary New Mexico that daringly combines the world of magical realism with the cruel reality of today's wars, environmental issues, and diseases. Both Cisneros and Castillo have received the Before Columbus American Book Award for The House on Mango Street and The Mixquiahuala Letters, respectively.
The unprecedented flourishing of Chicana literary production has prompted many a literary critic to test new approaches to their works. Besides authors like Castillo, Moraga, Cisneros, and Anzaldua, who are also engaged in literary criticism, a growing number of female scholars have published articles and/or edited magazines (e.g., Norma Alarcon and Third Woman), thus keeping up the dialogue within the Chicano/a literary community.
If the 1980s were primarily the decade of Chicana feminist writing, some Chicano writers of the previous generation continued to publish ( Anaya, Hinojosa, Morales, Méndez), while a few new male voices emerged on the Chicano literary scene. One of the most promising was that of Arturo Islas, whose untimely death in 1991 left only two works, The Rain God ( 1984) and Migrant Souls ( 1990). In both books the narrator is, in many ways, the author's alter