Love and friendship, art and craft, language and culture are the subjects of this look back at one woman's experiences in Mexico over a period of twenty years.
What first propels Linda Grant Niemann south are the migrants she encounters in her job as a railroad brakeman in the Southwest. She decides to learn Spanish, and in Mexico she soon meets some surprising kindred spirits. An admirer of craft and expertise, Niemann seeks out individual artists who make exquisite things--Otomi papermakers, the families who produce the famous ceramics of Mata Ortiz, the man in Michoacán who knows how to fashion full-size jaguar thrones in bent cane.
Some of her searches lead her to tiny villages and to artists who seldom get to meet their own fans. Niemann wonders if she is experiencing an ordinary shopaholic's obsession or if this is something more. The something more reveals itself as the connection of one artist to another.
Linda Grant Niemann is a professor of English at Kennesaw State University. Her most recent book is Railroad Noir: The American West at the End of the Twentieth Century. She lives in Marietta, Georgia.
Illustrations Acknowledgments Introduction Chapter One. A Tale of Two Mexicos Chapter Two. Where I'm From Chapter Three. Copper Canyon Chapter Four. Learning Spanish Chapter Five. A Time of Desperation Chapter Six. The Magic Mountain Chapter Seven. The Spirit of the Tomato Chapter Eight. The Day of the Dead Chapter Nine. Hermanas, Sisters Chapter Ten. Real de Catorce Chapter Eleven. Cave of the Olla Chapter Twelve. The Strength of the Maya Woman Chapter Thirteen. Farewell Chapter Fourteen. The Fun Train to Chiapas Chapter Fifteen. Travels with Betty Chapter Sixteen. An Ear and a Tail Chapter Seventeen. Shopping Chapter Eighteen. Danzón Chapter Nineteen. Tesmole Chapter Twenty. Sabor, Flavor Chapter Twenty-one. El Pedimento de Amialtepec Chapter Twenty-two. Land of the Sun Chapter Twenty-three. Welcome Home, Son of Pakal Glossary of Spanish Words and Phrases