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>>Fantasmas: Supernatural Stories by Mexican American Writers

ISBN 1-931010-02-1
176 pp. | paper only | $15.00

Contributors to Fantasmas:
Kathleen Alcalá
Luna Calderón
Brandt Jesús Cooper
Rubén Degollado
Elena Díaz Björkquist
Guadalupe García Montaño
Lucrecia Guerrero
Stephen D. Gutiérrez
Gary G. Hernández
Kelley Jácquez
Karleen Pendleton Jiménez
Rob Johnson
Jacquie Moody
Daniel A. Olivas
Torie Olson
Stephanie Reyes
David Rice
René Saldaña, Jr.
Carmen Tafolla
Elva Treviño Hart

edited by Rob Johnson and with an introduction by Kathleen Alcalą

In Mexico, cuentos de fantasma are a popular form of literature combining fantasy, folktales, and pulp fiction. Fantasmas is the first collection of such stories written by Mexican American writers and features nineteen new stories by Kathleen Alcalą, David Rice, Carmen Tafolla, Stephen Gutiérrez, Elva Treviño Hart, and others. In the world of Fantasmas, a Cantinflas puppet bought at Los Angeles's Olvera Street market comes to life and terrorizes a boy; a grandmother gives her granddaughter a magical potion as a quinceañera gift; and a "miracle" occurs the night of a Freddy Fender concert in New Mexico. In her introduction, Kathleen Alcalą distinguishes these stories from those by Latin American magical realists and discusses how a new generation of Mexican American writers has infused the folktales of the past with a sense of irony, humor, affection, and belief.

"These tales and urban legends are modern, with a nod--make that a bow--to current pop culture's fascination with horror and the paranormal. They run the gamut from the grotesque ('Cantinflas,' 'Lilith's Dance') to those displaying gracia, that elusive, heart-lightening quality that divides art from craft ('Beyond Eternity,' 'Michelle's Miracle'). Still others such as 'The Gift' would make excellent X-Files material, although a strong moral is attached. . . . patrons will enjoy the richness of the folktales and the sheer thrills transmitted by the fantasmas."
       - Nedra C. Evers, Library Journal

Rob Johnson teaches American literature at the University of Texas-Pan American in the South Texas Valley. His essays on border culture and on South Texas writers have appeared in Southwestern American Literature.

Kathleen Alcalą is the author of three novels, most recently Treasures in Heaven (Chronicle Books, 2000).