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The Last Tortilla & Other Stories Paperback – July 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Series: Camino del Sol
  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press; 1st edition (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816519617
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816519613
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #766,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Okay, so I wasn't going to be a great poet or a legendary writer. I wouldn't lead revolutions, and I wouldn't compose extraordinary music. I was only a guy who had just found the world as it was, after throwing out thousands of years of dreams and nightmares to secure my fragile existence," confides the narrator in the final story of this earthy collection. He could speak for all the characters in these 12 stories of Mexican-American life just north of the border. Typical themes of love, death, coming-of-age and family life drive the narratives, but the El Paso setting lends them cultural depth. In "Punching Chickens," a teenage boy's first job is unloading chickens from trucks. At the end of the day he is bloodied and fatigued, but he is rewarded with the respect and camaraderie of his fellow workers, and the conviction that he will not quit or complain. A series of tales about older men and women explores their vulnerability, loneliness and faith in God as they near death, while other stories concentrate on young adults caught in the cultural gap between their Mexican heritage and American lives. The title story brings these themes together as a lonely widower remarries a woman his children despise. The grown children hold on to Mexican traditions as much as possible, but speak a mix of English and Spanish, while the youngest, 11-year-old Juanito, is confused by the actions of adults, including his stepmother's rationing of tortillas. The prose may be plain and unadorned, but these stories are richly satisfying. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

paper 0-8165-1961-7 The Last Tortilla ($40.00; paper $17.95; Sept. 3; 240 pp.; 0-8165-1960-9; paper 0-8165-1961-7). A debut collection of 13 stories dealing with El Paso's often impoverished, invariably feisty Mexican-American populace. Troncoso's immensely lifelike characters include ``Tuyi, the fat boy everybody ignored,'' in an unusually inventive coming-of-age tale (``The Snake''), an elderly grandmother (``The Abuelita''), whose undimmed zest for life implicitly rebukes her grandson's scholarly pessimism, and a college student aglow with memories of the older Mexican woman whose ``unabashed Bohemian warmth'' sweetly overpowered him. Though sometimes slightly overexplicit, Troncoso's wistful, endearingly romantic tales vividly dramatize the inherent richness of even subsistence-level lives. He's a respecter of persons, and in turn his characters earn your affection and respect. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Sergio Troncoso is the author of five books. He co-edited OUR LOST BORDER: ESSAYS ON LIFE AMID THE NARCO-VIOLENCE, a collection of personal essays about how life, culture, and families have been affected by drug violence along the United States-Mexico border. Publishers Weekly called it an "eye-opening collection of essays." The anthology won the Southwest Book Award and the International Latino Book Award.

His novel FROM THIS WICKED PATCH OF DUST is a story about the Martinez family who begins life in the United States in Ysleta, outside the city limits of El Paso, Texas. The family struggles to stay together despite cultural clashes, different religions, and politics after September 11, 2001. Kirkus Reviews named the novel as one of the Best Books of 2012, and the book was shortlisted runner-up for the biannual PEN/Texas Southwest Book Award for Fiction.

CROSSING BORDERS: PERSONAL ESSAYS is a collection of personal essays about fatherhood, interfaith marriage, breast cancer and families, poverty, literacy, and education. The Portland Book Review called it "Heart-wrenching." The book won the Bronze Award for Essays from ForeWord Reviews.

Troncoso's first novel THE NATURE OF TRUTH is a novel about a Yale research student who discovers that his boss, a renowned professor, hides a Nazi past. Arte Publico Press published a revised and updated paperback edition in 2014. Rigoberto Gonzalez for The El Paso Times: "Sergio Troncoso's The Nature of Truth single-handedly redefines the Chicano novel and the literary thriller."

Troncoso's first book THE LAST TORTILLA AND OTHER STORIES won the Premio Aztlan Literary Prize and Southwest Book Award, and Booklist hailed it with "Enthusiastically recommended."

Sergio Troncoso was born and grew up in El Paso, Texas, the son of Mexican immigrants. He graduated from Harvard College and studied international relations and philosophy at Yale University. Troncoso was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund's Alumni Hall of Fame.

www.SergioTroncoso.com

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
I'm looking forward to hearing this guy read. I'm curious if his speaking voice is as fluid with both English and Spanish as his marvelous prose. No compromises here, language is like a third character nuanced with the cultural beauty of the Southwest. My favorite piece is definitely the story A Rock Trying to be A Stone. The images are disturbing, the messages are as dangerous yet mesmerizing as a body going up in flames. (I hope I didn't give too much away here.) He must write a novel next. He owes it to us after a taste of his shorter works.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
These stories, man, I can't forget them. About time somebody was writing about poor mexicanos in a way that doesn't put us down. Everybody should read this book. Even if you aren't chicano. It gets to some very basic truths about people and survival and amor.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
These stories haunt me for days on end. I find myself unable to let go of the ideas and imagery that they present. Very seldom do you see a modern writer who is so accessable, yet also makes you think.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gayla Collins on July 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
"The Last Tortilla and Other Stories" is a rich, poignant, truthful look at life of the poverty of Mexican/American culture along the Texas/Mexican borders. Extremely honest, the stories come to life in a splendid array of experiences melded together by various inhabitants. The tales are sometimes humorous, often brutal, always stark and honest, direct from the soul of this grand writer. Troncoso bares all with eloquence and dignity and the stories compell the reader to their pages. My only regret is I am not more prolific in Spanish, but it did not deter my fervor for these mini-masterpieces. My personal favorite was "The Albuelita," but all held my interest and my heart.
Muy bien!! Mas, por favor, Mr. Troncoso. Pardon my Spanish, but your destined career is just starting!!
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