Sub­texts The Fall and Rise of Cham­pagne Sánchez by Rudy J. Miera

Barrio bil­dungsro­man

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO -

Cham­pagne Sánchez could have been any­thing he wanted. He loved to learn and was a quick study as a boy. He en­joyed school, from sci­ence ex­per­i­ments to hand­writ­ing lessons, but life got the best of this Al­bu­querque barrio boy, the ti­tle char­ac­ter of The Fall and Rise of Cham­pagne Sánchez, by Rudy J. Miera, pub­lished by Flor­i­canto Press. Miera, a screen­writer, poet, and es­say­ist who is also in­volved in the North­ern New Mex­ico theater com­mu­nity, takes read­ers on an in­sider’s tour of the Duke City, where Cham­pagne can­not seem to live on the straight and nar­row, de­spite his better in­ten­tions. Many of his ad­ven­tures and mis­deeds are ob­served and chron­i­cled by his cousin, Adelita Chávez, a lo­cal re­porter and avid keeper of jour­nals in which she de­con­structs her world.

The cousins both strug­gle with the lim­i­ta­tions and ex­pec­ta­tions placed on His­pan­ics in the United States. Adelita is con­cerned with whether her news­pa­per writ­ing makes a real dif­fer­ence and whether her hu­man­in­ter­est sto­ries sim­ply re­in­force the sta­tus quo. “A life­time of writ­ing about good lit­tle worker ants who are born, go to school, get mar­ried, have chil­dren, get old, re­tire, and then die … I want to write about people who change his­tory,” she con­fides to her notebook. This sti­fling worka­day ex­is­tence is Cham­pagne’s story, too, but his re­bel­lious na­ture lands him be­hind bars. Later, a change of for­tune means the re­turn of the prodi­gal son.

Miera reads from The Fall and Rise of Cham­pagne Sánchez at Col­lected Works Book­store (202 Gal­is­teo St., 505-988-4226) on Mon­day, July 24, at 6 p.m. He is joined by Car­men Baca (El Her­mano) and Marie Romero Cash (Mag­dalena and the Per­ilous Jour­ney: Love in the Time of the Pue­blo Revolt). For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www .col­lect­ed­works­book­store.com. — Jennifer Levin

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