Austin-based author, Oscar Casares, launches his new book tour today in Brownsville, Texas, his hometown and inspiration for his graceful prose and dialogues. Casares’ 2003 story collection Brownsville won him many fans who have been awaiting the release of this first novel. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is currently teaching creative writing as an assistant professor for the Department of English of the University of Texas at Austin, as well as a member of the Michener Center for Writers.
Amigoland, set in a small South Texas town on the Mexican frontera, is the story of estranged brothers Don Fidencio and Don Celestino, each just as obstinate as the other. What old man isn’t? Don Celestino’s good-natured, young cleaning woman, Socorro, who is romantically involved with her employer, encourages him to make amends with his brother and resolve an old family pelea. What family doesn’t have a nagging dispute lurking from generation to generation? So, this improbable trio plans to travel to northern Mexico on a bus in hope of settling the long-standing dispute about how their abuelo arrived in the United States having been kidnapped down South. On this engaging and humorous journey the brothers learn it’s never too late for new beginnings and Socorro hopes to find clarity in her unlikely romance.
The trip stirs up powerful issues of familia and pride and about how we care for the people we love. Casares continues to enlighten his readers by showing Mexican-Americans experiencing the usual human conditions, “normalizing them,” and “showing the humanity of the group.” Mexican-Americans are no longer a demographic but lives experiencing life in el Valle del Río Grande.
At BookPeople, corner of 6th St. and Lamar in Austin
Thursday, August 13 @ 7:00 PM