Sub­texts Books by An­to­nio C. Márquez and Jen­nifer Faus

Mem­o­ries un­locked

Pasatiempo - - NEWS -

Two new books con­nected to New Mex­ico take on the con­cept of mem­ory in di­ver­gent ways. Volver: A Per­sis­tence of Mem­ory, by Al­bu­querque res­i­dent An­to­nio C. Márquez, pub­lished by Univer­sity of New Mex­ico Press, is a mod­estly lyri­cal and straight­for­ward mem­oir of grow­ing up in a fam­ily of Mex­i­can im­mi­grants in El Paso dur­ing and af­ter World War II. Márquez, a pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus of English lan­guage and lit­er­a­ture at the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico, takes read­ers through his young adult­hood in Texas and Cal­i­for­nia, and his en­list­ment in the Ma­rine Corps dur­ing war in Viet­nam — af­ter which he be­came an anti-war and civil-jus­tice ac­tivist. Through­out the book, Márquez em­pha­sizes the im­por­tance cul­tural and eth­nic di­ver­sity has played in his life, be­gin­ning in child­hood when he and his fam­ily spoke Span­ish with their Chi­nese neigh­bors, who had also em­i­grated from Mex­ico.

In The Slot­ted Spoon (Koser Howe Publishing), Jen­nifer Faus turns other peo­ple’s sad sto­ries into po­etry and short es­says. Faus spent the bet­ter part of two years on a road trip in the Amer­i­can South­west, mainly in New Mex­ico na­tional parks, gath­er­ing sto­ries from peo­ple she met along the way. Each piece is writ­ten from a dif­fer­ent per­sona, giv­ing voice to trau­matic sto­ries of­ten kept buried. The ti­tle sec­tion is a prose poem about a cruel mother who be­lieves her daugh­ter is un­grate­ful — de­spite the mother’s ne­glect and pen­chant for sab­o­tag­ing her child’s ef­forts at ba­sic sur­vival: “She will give you a slot­ted spoon for your broth and if you ques­tion her de­ci­sion she will tell you — you are spoiled, un­grate­ful.//And when you say, she gave me a slot­ted spoon to eat my broth, she cries out, I would never do such a thing!”

— Jen­nifer Levin

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