Posted Mar 31 2006
I’ve been a fan of Véa’s since picking up his book When God’s Go Begging back in 1998.
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I’ve been a fan of Véa’s since picking up his book When God’s Go Begging
back in 1998.
I immediately went out and picked up his earlier books, ended up booking him to come to my college, and even interviewed him for a Midwest magazine. Fast forward seven years later and his books are still on my short list. I recently reread La Maravilla
and I enjoyed it more now than the first time around. Set in Arizona, La Maravilla
addresses issues of identity, culture, and notions of self. Revolving around young Beto in a desert squatters’ camp, Beto finds himself caught between his grandmother’s unique spin on Catholicism, his grandfather’s Yaqui ties and the various beliefs and dramas of the town’s varied residents, including transvestites, Black southerners, Chinese, and poor Whites. The characters are drawn together through events ranging from domestic abuse to floods. Yet through the bad times, people pull together and are forced to confront their own demons and insecurities. The book delves heavily into magical realism and weaves a complex tale of people struggling to rediscover their original selves while trying to survive and balance their traditions with the encroachment of big city life. Véa has a very layered style of writing and delves heavily into history, religion, and culture. It can be much to take in, but this layered writing is actually a strong point for me. However, others have said that La Maravilla
can be a bit tedious and drags in places. You definitely need to keep your thinking cap on for this one. Yet, it’s enjoyable and will, or at least should, inspire self-reflection.