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