176 pp. | paper only | $15.00
Brandt Jesús Cooper
Elena Díaz Björkquist
Guadalupe García Montaño
Stephen D. Gutiérrez
Gary G. Hernández
Karleen Pendleton Jiménez
Daniel A. Olivas
René Saldaña, Jr.
Elva Treviño Hart
by Rob Johnson and with an introduction by Kathleen Alcalą
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.
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."
C. Evers, Library Journal
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.
is the author of three novels, most recently Treasures in Heaven
(Chronicle Books, 2000).