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A Glass of Water

3.50  ·  Rating Details  ·  107 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Award-winning memoirist, poet, and activist, Jimmy Santiago Baca has established himself as an inspiring and important spokesperson for the Chicano experience, continually giving voice to the voiceless. His first novel, A Glass of Water is a gripping tale of family, loyalty, ambition, and revenge that takes us inside the tragedies unfurling along our country’s borders. Hav ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Grove Press
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Oct 11, 2009 J rated it liked it
I love Jimmy Santiago Baca's poetry so, when I was walking around the book store today and, "A Glass of Water" caught my attention, I sat down for a quick sip. It didn't take long for me to decide to buy the book. This is his first novel (according to the jacket) and it is incredible. It was so engaging that I read it entirely in one sitting - a 4 hour drink to be exact.

I don't want to give any spoilers so I will be deliberately brief. The story is about two brothers whose divergent paths conve
Feb 13, 2010 Tara rated it liked it
This book had marvelous spots of prose ("As far as the eye could follow ran a continuous background of cottonwoods concealing the Rio Grande, a wall of leaves so dense that midday air was blue under it's canopy"), and a plot with a suprise twist, but I had trouble following the multiple POVs. They didn't quite patch together as well as, say, Sherrie Flick did in Reconsidering Happiness. I was at times confused, out of place in time, and wanted more of certain characters than others. Still, fans ...more
Stephanie Pendrys
Nov 10, 2014 Stephanie Pendrys rated it liked it
I had heard of Jimmy Santiago Baca's poetry and this book caught my eye at the library. It was a quick read and filled with some really remarkable prose; there were many lines that I read two or three times in an attempt to commit them to memory. n. A Glass of Water examines the human toll of immigrant labor practices from the point of view of those inside the workforce, who believed in the myths of success and freedom only to realize too late that neither can be achieved because of a corrupt an ...more
In the description alone the phrase "ever-elusive" American Dream, but in this novel Santiago Baca's main characters, the two brothers who are the center of the novel, do achieve their so-called American Dream to the extent that such a thing can ever be said to be truly had.
Maybe I appreciate his honesty, his scathing critiques of our country while simultaneously giving his characters the wherewithall to claim their country and, if not to thrive in it, than to definitely find measures of success
Mar 22, 2010 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
I think this was Baca's first novel. He writes more short stories and poetry. Anyway, my fella really likes him, being from New Mexico and all, so I originally brought the book home for him.

It's a very interesting story of a family and their progression through the years. The language was beautiful; you could tell Baca is a poet. I don't think I fully appreciated the actual words. Sometimes the stories are too interesting for me to pay attention to really beautiful, descriptive language. A lot
Cassandra Slattery
Nov 12, 2012 Cassandra Slattery rated it it was amazing
A Glass of Water is an important novel that should be read by all. It is a riveting story about the clash of ambition and loyalty, revenge and justice, as a family fights for survival and reinvents the American Dream. Mr. Baca boldly explores the brutal devastation of the U.S. immigration practices that are truly an atrocious affront to humanity. He shows this profoundly horrific reality without seeming predictable or didactic. It is a heartfelt and inspiring story about brotherhood and persever ...more
Mar 16, 2010 Carrie rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. Style of writing is almost prose-like. Living in an area where there is a good-sized Latino population, this book brings out my empathy for these people who are simply searching for a better life for themselves and their families. It is unfortunate for them that they do not know how to/choose not to/ or are unable to move to the U.S. in a legal manner. Each of the characters in the book just don't seem quite developed enough for me to give this book a "4" rating.

Feb 16, 2010 Colin rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
3.5 stars on this one. There were moving and beautifully written parts of this book. I felt like the character of the father was pretty typical disability-as-metaphorical-tragedy, though. However, Baca's poetic gifts shine in here, and there's some awesome stuff about oppression, resistance and community-building. It's a good, quick read.
RoseMary Achey
Jan 10, 2014 RoseMary Achey rated it really liked it
Hispanic illegals work their entire lives...have two sons who grow up to become landowners.
Terry Sterling
Aug 21, 2010 Terry Sterling rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 29, 2010 Eric rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
Fast read, I cant decide what bothered me about this book. Either that the characters were not as developed as I would have liked or that I didnt like what parts of them developed as??? I cant put my finger on it. That being said I liked this book. I must have since I couldnt put it down.
Jun 03, 2010 Pat rated it really liked it
Another small gem! This book was about a Hispanic family and their pursuit of the American Dream. Or Not.
This book will break your heart; but worth the read. Beautifully written prose!
Dec 29, 2009 Kate rated it it was ok
Gave up halfway in.....the writing was sparse and did not grab me the way I thought it would and OMG the cliche plot!!!! Two macho brothers fall for the same woman - come on!!
Stan Lanier
Feb 07, 2011 Stan Lanier rated it really liked it
This tale of contemporary Mexican Americans affords Baca the platform from which he shows the dignity of struggle inherent in the lives of brown skinned people in the Southwest.
Kathleen Schuerger
Mar 09, 2010 Kathleen Schuerger rated it liked it
Another contribution to border literature. Very poetic, maybe overly so. A fresh, sympathetic approach to the problems of migrant labor in the Southwest.
Feb 04, 2010 Siri rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. Current day fiction from a chicano/mexican immigrant point of view. Very interested and entertaining.
Sep 14, 2010 KellyWells rated it liked it
This was a good read. Although it was fiction, it gave a raw look into the life of migrant workers in the southwest.
Aug 10, 2012 Helen rated it liked it
Great writing but a hard book to read, the lives of the characters are so harsh.
carmen m alvarez
Mar 19, 2016 carmen m alvarez rated it really liked it
beautiful prose. pertinent topic. wished more people read this book.
Jan 09, 2013 Kym rated it really liked it
I am currently reading and love the language and the flow of the book!
Courtney Cerefice
Jan 18, 2013 Courtney Cerefice rated it liked it
Love his writing, but this wasn't my favorite.
Nov 29, 2009 Kate rated it liked it
Great language and strongly human
Apr 02, 2013 Linda rated it liked it
Nice writing, insightful, sad.
Val N
Val N marked it as to-read
Jun 04, 2016
Amy Ingles
Amy Ingles marked it as to-read
May 25, 2016
Charley rated it really liked it
May 13, 2016
Briana Urban
Briana Urban marked it as to-read
Apr 17, 2016
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Mar 19, 2016
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Jimmy Santiago Baca of Apache and Chicano descent is an American poet and writer.
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