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Breathing, In Dust

4.34 of 5 stars 4.34  ·  rating details  ·  38 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Deep within California’s golden agricultural heartland lies a rotten core: the fictional farming community of Catela, where the desperate realities of poverty, drug abuse, violence, and bigotry play out in the lives of cucarachas and coyotes, tweekers and strippers, wetbacks and white trash. Seventeen-year-old Tlaloc, namesake of the Aztec god of fertility and destruction,
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published March 15th 2010 by Texas Tech University Press (first published 2010)
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Barbara Brannon
Every once in a while a short novel--think Bright Lights, Big City-- captures the very moment of a place and culture through its precise use of every word, every scene. This is what Tim Hernandez has done for the Central Valley of California in his debut novel.
(Full disclosure: I handle marketing and promotions for the publisher of this title. But I post reviews only of those titles I've read and appreciated--and want my friends to read too!)
Cheryl Klein
It takes a poet to describe the Central Valley's unique beauties and harsh details so poignantly, and Tim Z. Hernandez is the right poet for the job. The language here is limber, ranging from elevated metaphor to first-person high school kid to an epistle by the kid's dad, who clearly doesn't write a lot of letters. All of it feels authentic. This novel-in-stories is more like a series of vignettes, though there is an arc (Tlaloc, the child of farm workers, struggles to get out of the town he lo ...more
A very impressive prose work that showcases all of Hernandez's capabilities as a poet. As unflinchingly brutal as the stories may be, this book's nearly impossible to put down. Hernandez gives us the real heart of California--the San Joaquin--in Breathing, In Dust, and while it's tough to handle, the story of the real people of California demands our attention.
Nicholas Belardes
A beautiful, poetic and sometimes raw view of the deepest heart of California's Great Central Valley. Hernandez is a great writer and his words resonate so well. I should add he is a masterful reader. The best I have ever heard. He literally puts on a show and transforms into his characters.
Great insight into the lives of Mexican migrant workers in Southern California. I loved it. Many of the chapters start off with subtlety and Timothy ratchets up the intensity making it a great, quick read. My favorite chapter was "Catching The Train"
I had to read this for an English class in College and I absolutely loved it. There were some parts where I got lost and confused, but in the end I thought it was completely realistic.
Christine Granados
Liked. I'm still haunted by the maggots in the grandmother's incision. Ewe.
Hernandez hits it out of the ballpark.
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