In Dancing Alone in Mexico
, Ron Butler offers an enchanting account of his capricious travels criss-crossing Mexico, presenting a country rich with history and alive with present-day vigor. An effort to maintain a relationship with his two children after his wife leaves him for the inland city of Guadalajara leads Butler on a trek through almost every region of Mexico, showing off the land and its people with a mix of straightforward historical research and tantalizing personal discoveries.
Just as Mexico is colored with celebration, so are Butler's travels. He tastes the marrow of the land, not merely as a tourist, but as a participant in local traditions. He seizes an opportunity to visit the last great American Matador, Diego O'Bolger, capturing the machismo spirit of the matador's dressing room. He claims to find the world's most delectable cup of coffee in the venerable city of Veracruz. He describes area legends, such as an ageless pearl diver forever searching the waters off La Paz for the best pearl its oyster beds can produce, and the portentous mummies stolen from unpaid graves and grotesquely displayed in a museum of Guanajuato. The reader is also treated to an in-depth exploration of the tangled relationship between Frida Khalo and Diego Rivera, two of Mexico's most famed artists.
Butler gives of himself in these pages. His sentiments are fiercely expressed--often as veracious loneliness or estrangement: "The trip seemed incomplete somehow; I was sorry it was over. I imagined that, meanwhile out at sea, deep below the water's surface, a bearded figure with ghostly flowing hair paused briefly and then continued on, content in the knowledge, for the moment at least, that someone, somehow, shared his ceaseless wandering." Dancing Alone in Mexico is as alluring and sweet as cajeta, the caramelized Mexican candy, and will draw any reader into reveries of this magical land. --Jacque Holthusen
From Library Journal
Butler, author of Fodor's Guide to New Mexico and contributor of travel articles to Travel & Leisure, has written anything but a usual travel guide. This is actually an insightful travel narrative of the country that the author traversed after his wife divorced him and took their two children to Guadalajara. The first part, appropriately titled "The Breakup," is brief and focuses on the author's failed marriage; the second part, the bulk of the book, dedicates each chapter to a particular area of Mexico; and the third, final part consists of three chapters on miscellaneous items: food, Cantinflas, and art. The most interesting parts of Butler's storytelling are his own views of the people and the various places he visits. Even though he sometimes mentions a hotel or restaurant that he stumbles upon, he doesn't provide the reader with prices, ratings, or listings, as would be expected from a typical guide. Instead, Butler devotes perhaps a bit more space than necessary to discussing his obvious passionDart. Nevertheless, this book is highly recommended for all libraries.DGeorge M. Jenks, Bucknell Univ., Lewisburg, PA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.