Tag: hispanic heritage month

Five Urban Legends of Latinx Dead Women Ending Unfaithful Men / Cinco leyendas de mujeres espeluznantes cazando hombres infieles

The underground universe of rumors and urban legends doesn’t appear to have escaped the powerful rivers of doneness exuded by every Latinx and Hispanic woman ever (whether they are aware of it or not). So, in addition to our rich tradition of signed-sealed-delivered official literature, we have a colorful scope of frightening phantasmagoric characters in our oral traditions. The motives behind these stories are mildly reminiscent of some of the gorier tales by the brothers Grimm, in which heroes would go on journeys where they lose fingers and bargain with the devil’s grandmother, all so parents could have a cold, hard, factual story to scare their children into not to going into the forest alone. That seems to be the purpose of urban legends: to keep kids away from strangers, deep waters, and streets at night. While Latinx urban legends are no exception, once we trace the roots of them back to their beginnings, they start to seem more like stories to scare grown men out of cheating and, frankly, women out of marriage.

Bugs and Daffy hunting hunters before it was cool, via Tenor

I cannot pinpoint the origin of these stories—whether it’s men or women who can take the credit for planting their seeds—but plenty of them have the following in common: a female monstrous creature with a traumatic past regarding men, and a vengeful motive amongst the living. More specifically, dead women luring, haunting, and killing men who cheat on their wives, abandon longtime mestiza partners for European brides, and/or are predatory to young girls.

I do, via Elizabeth Reninger

Often these characters are telenovela-like in that they won’t stop at getting vengeance from an abusive partner, but will commit murder, eat babies, burn houses, and just plain spook passersby. Also, a lot of these monstrous women’s origin stories are disturbing, over the top, and kind of metal, in a I-see-you-but-don’t-think-I’ll-partake kind of way. These are horror stories, I guess, so what can we expect? Since Hispanic Heritage Month is coming to a close, and Halloween approaches, I give you a festive list of these legendarily frightening specters.

1.La muelona (Colombia)

La muelona gets her name from her distinctive teeth (“muelas”), due to whose remarkable size and power, she is always showing, and, thus, always appears to be smiling. She is described as a particularly unsettling sort of vampire—an attractive woman with long hair, penetrating eyes, and a nasty bite—with a specific appetite for libidinous men (namely gamblers, adulterers, and alcoholics), whom she has vowed to take vengeance on. She has the particularity of not attacking men with a home, a pregnant wife, or newborn children. According to folklore, she appears on the side of the road, luring men with her looks and tearing them to shreds with her teeth once they are in her arms.

Perhaps not indeed, via WordPress

 

2. La llorona (Mexico, Venezuela, Southwestern US)

This one is so common, we have an extremely popular song about her along with plenty of variations to the tale. In one version of the tale, la llorona (“the wailer” or “the weeping woman”) finds out her husband is having an affair, and in a moment of anguish, drowns their children in the river. Immediately appalled at her crime, she drowns herself right after. In another version of the tale, she is not married to the father of her children, and she murders them so he won’t take them away to be raised by his legal wife. This version smells strongly of Latin American racial relationships, where a criollo from strict Spanish descent had some kind of relationship with a mestiza (a woman of mixed racial heritage), often having children with her and living with her until he decided to marry a Spanish woman of breeding, and leave the mestiza in the lurch with her reputation and opportunities in shambles. In some cases, if they conceived a child of white enough appearance, the father would take it and raise it in his official household away from its birth mother. This episode of systemic racism deserves a vengeful spirit, right?

A Frida Kahlo-looking llorona with no time for anyone’s crap, via Pinterest

3. La sayona (Venezuela)

Originally named Casilda (thank you very much), la sayona found out her husband was being unfaithful to her with (wait for it) her mom, so she ran home and set her house on fire with him in it. Then, she ran over to her mom’s place and killed her too. As her mother is bleeding to death, she inflicts upon Casilda a curse to avenge all women by killing their unfaithful husbands, and so Casilda becomes la sayona.

Everyone listening to that story, via Youtube

4. La descarnada (Ecuador, Nicaragua, México, El Salvador)

This spooky gal appears to men who are adulterers while they are driving on the road. Her thing is to get men to pull over, and then ask for a ride or a cigarette. Once she is in the car and the driver attempts to caress her, her skin starts to crumble and fall around her, revealing herself as a bare, rotting skeleton. Cute.

Gotcha, via Pinterest

5. La siguanaba

This one cracks me up. La siguanaba is a naked or scantily clad woman with a face covering who appears to men in forests. When men follow her and try to touch or grab her, la siguanaba turns around, removes the cover from her head, and shows her horse’s face, sending the dude flying backwards and either dying of fright or becoming sick. BRB, purchasing a horse mask for my commutes.

You were saying? via WordPress

There are plenty who didn’t make this list due to the fact that they don’t specifically prey on libidinous men. It seems like almost every female monster in latinx culture lures men in some kind of sexual way before revealing herself as a fearsome creature, and that holds some collective psychological weight. Speaking of collective psychological weight, notice the common factor of male fear of women who can turn their sexual power on its head: what if your toxic masculinity isn’t the tool you need to keep the world in your hands, but can actually cause your death? What a thought to sip some hot tea to…

Happy Autumn, folks.

Cinco leyendas de mujeres espeluznantes cazando hombres infieles

Las mujeres latinas e hispanas llevamos generaciones y generaciones sobresaturadas del machismo rampante que nos rodea—a nivel consciente o subconsciente, dependiendo del caso—y este nivel de hartura se ha filtrado en lo que viene a ser nuestra tradición oral de mitos y leyendas fantasmagóricas, que al lado de nuestra copiosa tradición literaria, luce igual de rica. El motivo de estos mitos viene a parecerse al de los cuentos de los famosos hermanos Grimm, en los cuales sus personajes pierden dedos y hacen tratos con la abuela del diablo con tal de que los padres del mundo tengan razones empíricas para insistir que los hijos no se jueguen a la orilla de las aguas profundas, hablen con extraños o anden solos de noche. En el caso de estas leyendas en particular—protagonizadas por espectros de mujeres temibles—no obstante, parece ser que su motivo es quitarles a los hombres de la cabeza la idea de ser infieles, y a las mujeres, la idea de casarse.

No está claro si fueron hombres o mujeres quienes pusieron las semillas de estos cuentos, pero casi todos tienen una serie de factores en común: una mujer monstruosa con un pasado traumático y un motivo de venganza entre los vivos. Por lo general, se trata del fantasma aterrador de una mujer que acecha a los adúlteros, a los que han dejado a una novia seria mestiza para casarse con una europea (así son algunas de sus historias de origen) y a los hombres hechos y derechos que acosan a las niñas.

Algunos de estos personajes parecen sacados de una telenovela, ya que no es suficiente con vengarse de un abusador, sino que además cometen asesinatos, comen niños, queman casas y aterrorizan a quienes se les crucen de por medio. Son historias de horror—¿que se puede esperar? Ya que hoy culmina el mes de la herencia hispana y nos hallamos en plena temporada de Halloween, aquí les dejo una lista festiva y fantasmagórica de algunas de estas espectros aterrorizantes.

1. La muelona (Colombia)

La muelona deriva su nombre de su potente dentadura, que debido a su tamaño siempre luce, y así parece estarse riendo siempre. Se le describe como a una especie de vampiro—una mujer atractiva de cabello largo, ojos penetrantes y una mordida mortal—con un apetito especial por los hombres libidinosos (entiéndase, los adúlteros, los aficionados del juego y las apuestas y los alcohólicos). La muelona tiene la particularidad de dejar tranquilos a los hombres con un hogar, una esposa encinta o niños recién nacidos. Dice la leyenda que esta depredadora se aparece en las carreteras, atrayendo a los hombres con su apariencia y luego destrozándolos a mordizcos al tenerlos en brazos.

2. La llorona (México, Venezuela, Sudoeste de EE.UU)

Ésta es tan famosa que tiene una canción con su nombre y un sinnúmero de versiones de su historia. De acuerdo a una versión de esta leyenda, la llorona encuentra a su marido siéndole infiel y como castigo ahoga a los hijos que tiene con él. Arrepentida de inmediato, la llorona se suicida por el mismo modo. En otra versión, sus hijos son ilegítimos y los ahoga para que el padre no se los lleve a ser criados por su esposa legítima. Esta versión suena potentemente a las jerarquías raciales que hasta el otro día se daban por debajo de la mesa en Latinoamérica, en la cual un criollo de ascendencia completamente europea convivía con una mujer mestiza, en muchas ocasiones teniendo hijos con ella, hasta decidir dejarla con la reputación y las oportunidades hechas añicos para casarse con una joven española de mejor cuna. En algunos casos, si los hijos que resultaban de la primera relación pasaban por blancos, el padre se los llevaba para criarlos como hijos de su esposa legítima, lejos de su madre. Decreto que este episodio de racismo y machismo sistémico merece un espíritu vengativo, ¿no creen? Todo el mundo cree.

3. La sayona (Venezuela)

Llamada originalmente Casilda (muchas gracias), la sayona se convierte en monstruo luego de encontrar a su marido siéndole infiel con nadie más ni nadie menos que su propia madre. Casil prende su casa en fuego con su marido adentro y luego corre a casa de su madre y la mata a ella también. Con sus últimas palabras, la madre de Casilda echa sobre su hija la maldición de tener que vengar a las mujeres para siempre, matando a los hombres infieles, y así se convierte Casilda en la Sayona.

4. La descarnada (Ecuador, Nicaragua, México, El Salvador)

Esta chica espeluznante se aparece en las carreteras de noche y pide aventones o cigarrillos a los conductores casados con tendencias extramaritales. Su modus operandi es que, al ocupar el asiento de pasajero y en cuanto el conductor se incline a tocarla o acariciarla, se le desgrana la piel y el cuerpo completo hasta revelar un esqueleto putrefacto. Qué monada.

5. La siguanaba (Centroamérica, México)

Ésta me da vida. La siguanaba es una mujer desnuda o semidesnuda que lleva la cabeza cubierta y se le aparece a los hombres en los bosques. Cuando los hombres la siguen e intentan agarrarla, la siguanaba se voltea, se descubre la cabeza y revela su rostro de caballo, catapultando así hacia atrás a quien la ve, matándolo del susto o enfermándolo. Con el permiso, voy a comprar una careta de caballo para ir a trabajar.

Hay bastantes que no están en esta lista debido a que no acechan específicamente a los hombres libertinos. Parece ser que en casi todas las leyendas en las que aparecen estas mujeres, las mismas ponen alguna especie de trampa sexual antes de revelarse como monstruos asesinos ante sus víctimas; me atrevo a sugerir que la relevancia psicológica de este miedo colectivo. Hablando de psicología colectiva, hablemos del pavor masculino hacia la mujer que puede en un abrir y cerrar de ojos poner de cabeza la hegemonía de la sexualidad masculina: ¿y si la masculinidad tóxica no fuese la herramienta que mantendría el mundo en manos de los hombres tóxicos, sino una conducta que pudiera traerles la muerte?

Feliz otoño, señores.

featured Image via reddit

Hispanic Heritage Month and the Importance of Reading from Latinx Writers

Earlier this month, before Hispanic Heritage Month even started, recommendation lists with books to read during the month started to come out. And while most of them included exclusively Latin American authors, some of them also had books about Latin America from white authors, some even included the extremely controversial American Dirt. If you somehow missed all of that drama at the beginning of this year I won’t just sit here and beat an already dead horse but I will say, in short, that, that book—despite all the good intentions it might’ve had—was painfully stereotypical and opportunistic. It took the story of thousands of immigrants, the grueling journey and painful decisions they have to make, and brushed off some of the deeper issues concerning immigration and cartel violence in Latin America to make it digestible to a white audience. As if we needed another Latinx suffering story, and from a white author (with a savior complex?).

But the issue goes faaaar beyond this individual book. The truth is that Latin American literature has a very limited space in the United States. Speaking from personal experience, as a Writing and Literature major in college, I could probably count on one hand the number of books from Latin American writers I’ve had to read for class. Even back when I was in high school in Latin America, a lot of the times we’d read American classics, because that was what we had to know. I’ve even asked many of my American friends if they ever had to read at least one Latinx book, the answer is almost always no. And publishing as an industry is unfair to us too. Not only do we get published less, but we don’t get paid as much when we do.

What finally broke the 'no Chicanos' rule at the reemergent Museum of Latin American Art - Los Angeles Times

Image via  Los angeles times

The literature and perspective of 20 countries are being overlooked. And then we have people who don’t even belong to these cultures try to speak over us. What we get from that is a flat and homogenous look at half a continent, or are we not familiar with that yellow filter they use in movies when trying to depict a third world country?

So yeah, Hispanic Heritage Month—or Latinx Heritage Month, because not every Latin American speaks Spanish—matters. We are so much more than poverty and drug cartels. Our history and culture are rich and so are our contributions to the literary world. Our stories matter and we have many more to tell that are not Latinx suffering. I can’t tell you what to read, at the end of the day that choice is yours, but if you want to read about Latin America, both the place and the people that come from it, please do so from them, AKA the people who actually know what it’s like. Not even just in the moral sense of it, but I promise you you’re going to get a much better experience from it.

And if you want some recs, I got you right here.

Mes de la Herencia Hispana y la importancia de leer autores Latino Americanos. 

Tiempo atrás este mes, antes que el Mes de la Herencia Hispana empezara, listas de recomendaciones con libros que leer durante el mes comenzaron a salir. Y mientras la mayoría de ellas tenían exclusivamente autores Latino Americanos, algunas tenían libros sobre Latino América escritos por autores blancos, y algunas de ellas incluso tenían la controversial novela Tierra Americana. Si de alguna manera te perdiste todo el drama al principio de este año no quiero solo estar aquí pegándole a la mula muerta pero solo diré, en corto, que ese libro—sin importar las buenas intensiones que pudo haber tenido—fue dolorosamente estereotípico y oportunista. Tomó la historia de miles de inmigrantes, el laborioso camino que tienen que llevar y las dolorosas decisiones que toman, e ignoro los problemas mas serios y profundos sobre la inmigración y la violencia de carteles en Latino América para hacerlo todo digerible para una audiencia blanca. Como si necesitáramos otra historia de dolor latino, y encima de todo de un autor blanco (con complejo de héroe).

Pero el problema va mucho maas lejos que ese libro. La realidad es que la literatura Latino Americana tiene un espacio muy limitado en los Estados Unidos. Hablando desde experiencia personal, y como estudiante de universidad en literatura y escritura, puedo contar con una mano el número de libros de autores latino americanos que me han asignado. Incluso cuando en la preparatoria en Latino América, muchas de las veces leíamos clásicos americanos porque eso era lo que necesitábamos saber. Incluso le he preguntado a mis amigos americanos si ellos alguna vez tuvieron que leer algún libro de un autor latinx, y la respuesta es casi siempre no. La industria editorial es muy injusta hacia nosotros también. No solo nuestros libros no son publicados, también nos pagan menos cuando si lo son.

What finally broke the 'no Chicanos' rule at the reemergent Museum of Latin American Art - Los Angeles Times

Image via  Los angeles times

Esa es la literatura y perspectiva de 20 países siendo sobrevista. Y luego tenemos gente que quiere hablar por encima de nosotros. Lo que obtenemos de eso es una vista plana y homogénea de medio continente. ¿O que no estamos ya familiarizados con el filtro amarillo que usa en las películas cuando quieren representar a un país tercermundista?

Así que si, el Mes de la Herencia Hispana—o Mes de la Herencia Latinx porque no todos los Latinxs hablan español—importa. Somos mucho mas que pobreza y carteles de drogas. Nuestra historia y cultura es rica y también lo es nuestras contribuciones al mundo literario. Nuestras historias importan y tenemos muchas mas que no son sobre sufrimiento latino. No puedo decirte que o que no leer, al final del día esa es tu decisión, pero si quieres leer sobre Latino América, el lugar y la gente que viene de ahí, por favor hazlo de ellos, la gente que sabe como es en realidad. No solo en el sentido moral, también te prometo que lo vas a disfrutar mucho más.

Y si quieres recomendaciones, aquí te dejo unas.

 

Featured image via pinterest

‘The Poet X’: WOC Representation and Sexual Tropes / ‘Poet X’: Representación de MDC y Tropos Sexuales

For decades WOC representation have been plagued by hypersexualized tropes; the end result being flat characters. This Hispanic Heritage Month we look at The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo; a novel that highlights proper representation and flips those age old tropes on their head.

Read more

'Juliet Takes a Breath' Cover

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with ‘Juliet Takes a Breath’

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month beginning today, it only seemed to right to share a wonderfully written YA novel by the Puerto Rican, queer, Bronx-born icon Gabby Rivera. She is the first Latina to ever write for Marvel and the mastermind behind the America comics series, starring America Chavez. Juliet Takes a Breath is Rivera’s first fiction work—and an utterly smashing one at that.

The story opens with Juliet Milagros Palante, a queer, Puerto Rican college student with a whole lot of questions. And, a whole lot of hope. At only nineteen years old, Bronx-born Juliet is still trying to figure out how all the aspects of her identity come together. Her first year of college brought her her first girlfriend, Lanie. Amongst all the excitement and puppy eyes that come with your first love, Juliet can’t ignore two unsettling facts: Lanie refuses to introduce her to her parents, and Juliet has yet to come out to her own family. Juliet also has to battle anxiety-induced asthma and growing insecurities around her chubby brown body. It’s at this crossroads that she finds the book that will change her life: Harlowe Brisbane’s Raging Flower: Empowering Your Pussy by Empowering your Mind.

Gabby Rivera

Author gabby rivera | via nbc news

Excited by her first exposure to queer-centric, radical feminism, Juliet emails Harlowe to ask if she can spend the summer interning with the acclaimed feminist in Portland, Oregon. To Juliet’s surprise, and delight, Harlowe emails her back. It’s a yes.

That’s how Juliet ends up in the middle of quirky, weird, and very white Portland. If being dropped in a city that feels like another planet weren’t disorienting enough, Juliet’s head is still reeling from coming out to her family the night before she left. It didn’t go well. Nevertheless, she persists and launches herself into Portland life. The vibrant people she meets not only help her begin to make sense of her identity, but also realize that it’s okay to not have the answer to every single question.

She learns what preferred gender pronouns are and what it means to not conform to gender entirely. She meets expecting queer parents and a writing circle comprised entirely of Black female authors. She faces the reality of hegemonic whiteness and its enduring detrimental effects on feminism. She meets an adorably cute, motorcycle-riding librarian who actually makes her feel appreciated for who she is—something she can’t say about Lanie. Juliet’s relationship with her family, though strained at times, evolves in ways that both break your heart and put it back together. Through it all, Juliet remains curious with the world. She allows herself to feel her pain and emotions with full force and learns from them. Most importantly, she refuses to be deterred from living and loving with beautiful conviction. When Juliet embraces her identity as a queer, Puerto Rican, Bronx-born, and burgeoning intersectional feminist, you can’t help but feel proud.

Juliet in comic form

Juliet in comic form | Via los angeles times

That’s one of the most special things about Juliet. She’s fiercely independent and entirely vulnerable at the same time, demonstrating that the two qualities aren’t mutually exclusive. They make her, and every single one of us, all the more human. Rivera writes with unmistakable authenticity. Every interaction, every train of thought, and every depiction feels real. You can’t help but knowingly laugh when Juliet is a sweaty disaster over talking to a pretty girl. Your chest aches during Juliet’s tense phone calls with her mother. And, you know the excitement, nerves, and relief that all come when she walks into the middle of a huge, gay party because she’s finally found her people. Rivera confronts the monolithic white, cis stereotype of the queer woman with grace and uses her platform to highlight the actual diversity of the queer female community. That’s why Juliet Takes a Breath is so important. It’s rare that queer women are given a narrative written with so much care in representing all of the unique identities that exist within our community and lived experience. As a queer woman who’s in her early 20s and also still trying to figure everything out, reading Rivera’s words really is like taking a breath. She makes you feel understood, and she makes you feel like you’re not alone.

Feature image via purewow

Books to Read for Latinx Heritage Month

Because we need to celebrate the impact that Latin American people have had in the history and culture of the United States, as well as celebrate stories by and about Hispanic and Latin American people, here is a list of books you can read for Latinx Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15):

Image via amazon

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. It’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story?

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Seven-year-old Chula lives a carefree life in her gated community in Bogotá, but the threat of kidnappings, car bombs, and assassinations hover just outside her walls, where the godlike drug lord Pablo Escobar reigns, capturing the attention of the nation. When her mother hires Petrona, a live-in-maid from the city’s guerrilla-occupied slum, Chula makes it her mission to understand Petrona’s mysterious ways. As both girls’ families scramble to maintain stability amidst the rapidly escalating conflict, Petrona and Chula find themselves entangled in a web of secrecy.

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Latinas of Indigenous descent living in the American West take center stage in this haunting debut story collection—a powerful meditation on friendship, mothers and daughters, and the deep-rooted truths of our homelands.

The Shape of the Ruins: A Novel de [Juan Gabriel Vasquez]

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The Shape of the Ruins is a masterly story of conspiracy, political obsession, and literary investigation. When a man is arrested at a museum for attempting to steal the bullet-ridden suit of a murdered Colombian politician, few notice. But soon this thwarted theft takes on greater meaning as it becomes a thread in a widening web of popular fixations with conspiracy theories, assassinations, and historical secrets; and it haunts those who feel that only they know the real truth behind these killings.

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The ghost of a decadent and disagreeable aristocrat decides to write his memoir.  Wildly imaginative, wickedly witty, and ahead of its time, the novel has been compared to the work of everyone from Cervantes to Sterne to Joyce to Nabokov to Borges to Calvino, and has influenced generations of writers around the world.

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The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Told in a series of vignettes-sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous-Sandra Cisneros’ masterpiece is a classic story of childhood and self-discovery.

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Migration. Betrayal. Family secrets. Doomed love. Uncertain futures. In Daniel Alarcón’s hands, these are transformed into deeply human stories with high stakes. In “The Thousands,” people are on the move and forging new paths; hope and heartbreak abound. A man deals with the fallout of his blind relatives’ mysterious deaths and his father’s mental breakdown and incarceration in “The Bridge.” A gang member discovers a way to forgiveness and redemption through the haze of violence and trauma in “The Ballad of Rocky Rontal.” And in the tour de force novella, “The Auroras”, a man severs himself from his old life and seeks to make a new one in a new city, only to find himself seduced and controlled by a powerful woman.

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When it appeared in 1924, this work launched into the international spotlight a young and unknown poet whose writings would ignite a generation. W. S. Merwin’s incomparable translation faces the original Spanish text. Now in a black-spine Classics edition with an introduction by Cristina Garcia, this book stands as an essential collection that continues to inspire lovers and poets around the world.

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Anita de la Torre never questioned her freedom living in the Dominican Republic. But by her twelfth birthday in 1960, most of her relatives have immigrated to the United States, her Tío Toni has disappeared without a trace, and the government’s secret police terrorize her remaining family because of their suspected opposition to Trujillo’s iron-fisted rule.

Using the strength and courage of her family, Anita must overcome her fears and fly to freedom, leaving all that she once knew behind.

The House of the Spirits: A Novel de [Isabel Allende]

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In a triumph of magic realism, Allende constructs a spirit-ridden world and fills it with colorful and all-too-human inhabitants. The Trueba family’s passions, struggles, and secrets span three generations and a century of violent social change, culminating in a crisis that brings the proud and tyrannical patriarch and his beloved granddaughter to opposite sides of the barricades. Against a backdrop of revolution and counterrevolution, Allende brings to life a family whose private bonds of love and hatred are more complex and enduring than the political allegiances that set them at odds.

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In colorful pieces on the tango and the gaucho, on the card game truco, and on the criollos (immigrants from Spain) and compadritos (street-corner thugs), we gain insight not only into unique aspects of Argentine culture but also into the intellect and values of one of Latin America’s most influential writers. Featuring material available in English for the first time, this unprecedented collection is an invaluable literary and travel companion for devotees of both Borges and Argentina.

Love in the Time of Cholera (Vintage International) de [Gabriel GarcÍA MÁRquez]

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In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs–yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.

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After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

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Eury comes to the Bronx as a girl haunted. Haunted by losing everything in Hurricane Maria–and by an evil spirit, Ato. She fully expects the tragedy that befell her and her family in Puerto Rico to catch up with her in New York. Yet, for a time, she can almost set this fear aside, because there’s this boy . . .

Pheus is a golden-voiced, bachata-singing charmer, ready to spend the summer on the beach with his friends, serenading his on-again, off-again flame. That changes when he meets Eury. All he wants is to put a smile on her face and fight off her demons. But some dangers are too powerful for even the strongest love, and as the world threatens to tear them apart, Eury and Pheus must fight for each other and their lives.

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Xochitl is destined to wander the desert alone, speaking her troubled village’s stories into its arid winds. Her only companions are the blessed stars above and enigmatic lines of poetry magically strewn across dusty dunes.

Her one desire: to share her heart with a kindred spirit.

One night, Xo’s wish is granted―in the form of Emilia, the cold and beautiful daughter of the town’s murderous conqueror. But when the two set out on a magical journey across the desert, they find their hearts could be a match… if only they can survive the nightmare-like terrors that arise when the sun goes down.

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