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Tijuana: Stories On The Border
by Federico Campbell, Ed. By Debra A. Castillo
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From Publishers Weekly
Set in the shadowy no-man's-land between Mexican and American culture, Tijuana explores the shifting realities of many types of borders?geographic, cultural, temporal and psychological. In "Everything about Seals," the novella that begins the collection, the unnamed narrator haunts the literal and figurative borders of city streets, airport hangars and reality as he endlessly searches for Beverly?a transient American pilot who "came from another world and possessed the ability to disappear at will at any time and in any direction." "Tijuana Times" offers a moving reminiscence of the narrator's adolescence in the 1960s, when every teenage fantasy was "related to an adult destiny on Los Angeles's East Side." And in "Insurgentes Big Sur," the narrator questions his cultural allegiance to either Mexico or the United States, observing "A city... is like a person; you either know it well or not at all." Cornell professor Castillo's sometimes dogged introduction provides the collection's only weak spot. Her essay "Borderlining: An Introduction," seeks to provide a historical context for Campbell's work and to establish the theoretical pertinence of "Border Studies." The stories themselves more than compensate, however, providing a compelling illustration of a world caught in-between.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Tijuana is a haunting collection of stories and a novella, all set in the shadowy borderlands between Mexico and the United States. A fresh and evocative voice, Federico Campbell traces many kinds of borders--geographical, psychological, cultural, spiritual--and the "halfway beings" that inhabit them.
The novella, "Everything About Seals," is both a passionate love story and a deeply disquieting chronicle of romantic obsession. The narrative voices in Campbell's stories are many-sided, moving from the brash teenager whose gang's symbol is the Mobil Oil flying horse to the confused law student who no longer knows whether his cultural allegiance is to Mexico City or to Los Angeles.
Campbell has captured here the ambivalent, fascinating ties between Mexico and the U.S., ties ranging from Hollywood movies to Mexican folklore. The first English-language translation of his work, Tijuana will be welcomed by general readers as well as literary critics, anthropologists, historians, and those interested in the culture of the border.
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Spanish
About the Author
Federico Campbell was born in Tijuana in 1941. Well known in Mexico as a journalist, he received a major award from the Mexican National Council for Arts and Culture in 1990. His book of political chronicles, La invención del poder (The Invention of Power) has just been published in Spanish. Campbell lives in Mexico City. Debra A. Castillo is Professor of Romance Studies and Comparative Literature at Cornell University.
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