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Book Review
By
Jose B. Gonzalez

 

Proximidad by Ed O'Casey, Broadstone Books

 

Proximidad is a memoir that will leave you thinking about the tragic tensions caused by borders and how they affect the day-to-day lives of those living alongside Juarez. O'Casey opens himself up in this memoir, bringing us inside a world where he has to care for his daughter and his family while wondering how to keep them out of the real dangers created by the rise of the drug trade.

At one point, O'Casey reminisces about the lessons he learned on his travels to visit his mother's parents or to go shopping. Something as subtle as looking someone in the eye could result in conflict: "We Made no eye contact--my wife would / learn about this many years later .... She looked a man in the eye." The man "came right to the car, and / cursed us when we refused to open the window." O'Casey brings those tensions to life while making the reader wonder about the near impossibility of being conflicted internally.

 

O'Casey also addresses his name, acknowledging while being critical of the fact that:
 

There is an American belief that all people who

immigrate or descend from the 21st distinctly

different progenies of Hispania are

culturally alike,

vote as a group,

              dance salsa, speak Spanish

 

A definite strength in this poetic memoir is the willingness of O'Casey as a writer to confront cultural complexities that are too often oversimplified in autobiographical works. LatinoStories.Com hopes to see more authors approach their subjects the way O'Casey does.After all, more and more authors are growing up, as O'Casey might say, with one foot in one cultural land, and the other foot in a home that does not look like what we might expect.

 

Jose B. Gonzalez is the author of the poetry collections, Toys Made of Rock and When Love Was Reels, and is the editor of LatinoStories.Com.


 

 



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