From Mexico City to San Francisco’s Mission District, nothing comes easy—in life or in love. Here is an unstereotypical view of a world as treacherous as it is tender, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking. Authentic and honest, these nine stories focus on today’s Latino men, their strength and vulnerability, their fears and deepest desires.
“This War Called Love is the second collection of stories by American Book Award-winner Alejandro Murguia (Southern Front). Young Reymundo’s idyllic life in 1950s Mexico City is interrupted by one tragedy after another in the richly detailed “Boy on a Wooden Horse.” Although the eight subsequent stories don’t quite measure up to this one, there are a few gems. In “Ofrendas,” Reymundo is older, living in San Francisco’s Mission District, mourning a lost friend on the Day of the Dead. The darkly humorous “Barrio Lotto,” in which a bus driver and his psychic wife struggle to stay afloat financially, features an ending worthy of Roald Dahl.”
“Equal parts funny and sad, Murguia’s short stories depict, with tender and sometimes unflinching detail, love, life, and growing up Hispanic. The heartbreaking “Boy on a Wooden Horse” takes place in the year before an earthquake nearly leveled Mexico City and follows a young boy whose childhood races past him as he faces one tragedy after another. In the brief but powerful story “The Flower Seller,” a child walks the streets of California, selling roses out of a bucket in restaurants while his mother repairs clothes and his sisters sew beads on dresses for retail stores–all of them working for pennies. Although the best of the collection are on the darker side, Murguia also shines in the more lighthearted stories; for instance, the hilarious dance maestro of “A Lesson in Meringue” teaches a class the forbidden dance, claiming it washes away problems and is the cheapest workout in town. Free of stereotypes and always honest, this collection presents Latino-Chicano life at full throttle.”
—Carlos Orellana, Booklist