Fiction and Chicano/a

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Serafina's Stories

Rudolfo Anaya

New Mexico's master storyteller creates a southwestern version of the Arabian Nights in this fable set in seventeenth-century Santa Fe. In January 1680 a dozen Pueblo Indians are charged with conspiring to incite a revolution against the colonial government. When the prisoners are brought before the Governor, one of them is revealed as a young woman. Educated by the friars in her pueblo's mission church, Serafina speaks beautiful Spanish and surprises the Governor with her fearlessness and intelligence.
The two strike a bargain. She will entertain the Governor by telling him a story. If he likes her story, he will free one of the prisoners. Like Scheherazade, who prevented her royal husband from killing her by telling him stories, Serafina keeps the Governor so entertained with her versions of Nuevo Mexicano cuentos that he spares the lives of all her fellow prisoners.
Some of the stories Serafina tells will have a familiar ring to them, for they came from Europe and were New Mexicanized by the Spanish colonists. Some have Pueblo Indian plots and characters - and it is this blending of the two cultures that is Anaya's true subject.


Rudolfo Anaya, widely acclaimed as one of the founders of modern Chicano literature, is professor emeritus of English at the University of New Mexico. He is best known for the classic Bless Me, Ultima.


"Recommended for public and academic libraries, especially those with an interest in Southwestern liteature."


School Library Journal

"It's not hard to predict that Serafina's story will be hypnotic and entertaining. . . With Serafina's Stories Anaya again reminds us of the importance of maintaining an oral tradition."


San Antonio Express-News

"Rudolfo Anaya is both a wise man and a gifted storyteller. Serafina's Stories. . (are) a series of engaging tales."


Santa Fe New Mexican

"The true treasure of Anaya's book can only be found in stories and images thoughtfully presented through the beautiful Serafina."


UNM Campus News

"This is a beautiful book from the author of the classic Bless Me, Utlima. The folktales are the stuff of Chicano dreams."


The Pueblo Chieftain, CO

" Serafina's Stories makes clear how narratives enrich our lives and make us better people in spite of our failings. Anaya's book is a celebration of the oral tradition, how it still resonates in our lives for the simple reason that it's a timeless art."


Tucson Weekly

"Like Serafina, Anaya ia a powerful storyteller whose cuentos and other writings are a balm for the soul."


New Mexico Magazine

"(Serafina's) stories are simple but vivid, populated with fools and tricksters, talking horses and singing trees, powerful kings and humble bakers, beauties and beasts. . . The master (Anaya) tells his tales with words and images so rich and strange that it is almost as if he had invented a language of his own."


Los Angeles Times

"Well written and lyrically told, this novel is suitable for all readers."


The Historical Novels Review

"Anaya's new book is a spellbinding account of a Native American woman who spins tales to enlighten the Spanish governor into setting her people free. . . Clearly conceived, Serafina's Stories contains 12 folk tales that are as absorbing as the main plot."


El Paso Times

"Chicano crime novelist Rudolfo Anaya has produced a delightful collection of bedtime stories kids and adults will enjoy equally. Adults will get a kick out of reading aloud these stoies."


"From the author who many consider to be the founder of contemporary Chicano literature come 12 poignant and moving stories that take the reader to the Spanish-colonial rule of the seventeenth-century Santa Fe, New Mexico."


Multicultural Review

"Anaya's prose offers the attraction of a certain purity--Reading ( Serafina's Stories) will restore to all but the most jaded reader a necessary sense of wonder."


NPR All Things Considered

5.5 x 8 in. 208 pages