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Featured Book: Chicano Sketches

October 14, 2008
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This excerpt is taken from Suarez’s short story collection Chicano Sketches (2004) published by The University of Arizona Press

Chicano Sketches (04 Edition) Cover

And El Hoyo is something more. It is this something more which brought Felipe Ternero back from the wars after having killed a score of Germans, with his body resembling a patchwork quilt. It helped him to marry a fine girl named Julia. It brought Joe Zepeda back without a leg from Luzon and helps him hold more liquor than most men can hold with two. It brought Jorge Casillas, a gunner flying B-24s over Germany, back to compose boleros. Perhaps El Hoyo is the proof that those people exist who, while not being against anything, has of yet failed to observe the more popular modes of human conduct. Perhaps the humble appearance of El Hoyo justifies the discerning shrugs of more than a few people only vaguely aware of its existence. Perhaps El Hoyo’s simplicity motivates many a chicano to move far away from its intoxicating frenesi, its dark narrow streets, and its shrieking children, to deny the bloodwell from which he springs, to claim the blood of a conquistador while his hair is straight and his face beardless. Yet El Hoyo is not the desperate outpost of a few families against the world. It fights for no causes except those which soothe its immediate angers. It laughs and cries with the same amount of passion in times of plenty and of want.

Mario Suárez

Often overlooked in the “canon” of Chicano Literature for writers such as Rudolfo Anaya and Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, Mario Suárez’s writing pre-dates the Chicano literature movement in the ’60s and ’70s. Many of his sketches of immigrant and working class life were published in the mid- to late-1950s. From an anthropological standpoint, his work should be heralded for telling the immigrant story and documenting life in El Hoyo before its demise. (Source:

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