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Review: Chuy de Cabra • The Journey Home • El Cupacabra
by Michael Sedano...
Wherever the hybrid vampire-werewolf story of la chupacabra came from, it’s well-known enough nowadays to be the basis of speculative fiction in a fun read from an independent publisher.
I wouldn’t be surprised to learn somewhere in the guts of a big library a researcher toils amid the microfiche and dusty ephemera, looking for that first mention in a folklorist newsletter, an allusion buried in ancient usenet archives. For all I know, either Max Uballez or Alexander Uballez started it way back when. Their novel, Chuy de Cabra, takes the devil by the horns and scores a winner. It’s fun.
The authors have given their chupacabra a taste for human flesh. Along with a diabolic power to rob a body of vitality--brush up against, a tap on the shoulder, hours later the victim has aged thirty years and lethally enervated--chupacabra inhabits the body of someone you know. The cops think it's Chuy, and he's not sure he's not.
Chuy de Cabra spins speculative fantasy out of shape-shifting, time and place dislocation, multidimensionality, police brutality, bilingualism. Here and there the writing sparkles with psychedelic force and draws a smile. “Otra!” the reader says, “give me another little piece like that.”
It may be mere coincidence how this literary romp mirrors canonical chicano literary motives such as the quest for identity, uses of language and speech, a community-based philosophy, indigenism.
That’s if you want to look at it like that. Maybe that rhetoric lies there on the page because that’s how we are. It’s Chicano literature. Sabes que? Forget that stuff.
Sadly, Chuy de Cabra will not sit well with curmudgeons, strict linguistic prescriptivists, and irritable critics. Would it help if people knew a Tommy Burger plays a key role in making casí everything all right?
Richard Yniguez Incredible narrative about the state of living Chicano or a tinge darker than the majority! Very cool, Max & Alexander, much success! (Chapter 6 "Land of the Free")
Jesse Calvillo “Hi Max, I read your book more than once and it starting to reflect on a modern-day Don Juan (Carlos Casteneda) who became a Buddist in disguise to continue his mischevious ways. Jesse”