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Thirteen Senses: A Memoir Hardcover – August 21, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Rayo; 1st edition (August 21, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0066210771
  • ISBN-13: 978-0066210773
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #395,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A good story, Victor Villaseñor writes in the opening pages of this sequel to Rain of Gold, can save your life.

Consider, he continues in this memorable portrait of Latino family life, the case of his grandparents, who fled from civil-war-torn Mexico to the United States in 1910. As they traveled north, his father told Villaseñor, "Cannons were blasting. People were screaming and dying. The creeks ran red with blood." But Villaseñor's grandmother's stories about "the stars, the moon, the she-fox" kept the children's minds off the terrors around them, guiding them to their new homeland and shaping family history. That history provides the grist for Villaseñor's exuberantly spinning mill, yielding a sprawling narrative shot through with touches of magical realism and homespun philosophy, and tinged occasionally with regret--as when, for instance, Villaseñor's mother confesses, "I miss your father so much ... but I'm the one who could never bring myself to tell him that I loved him."

But sorrow is rare and humor plentiful as Villaseñor affectionately recounts his relatives' travails and improbable dreams, some of which, like a grandfather's quest for gold in a hidden Mexican canyon, come true. As he writes, Villaseñor underscores the importance of tradition, faith, forgiveness, and, yes, good stories in making life livable, and this good story will please many readers. --Gregory McNamee

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of Villasenor's admirable family epic, Rain of Gold (Arte Publico, 1991) will be hard-pressed to wade through this massive, workmanlike sequel. The book's humorous opening at the 50th-anniversary renewal of Villasenor's parents' wedding vows, the "bride" refuses to say "obey" as her sister catcalls from the front pew about the groom's unreliability gives way to a series of simplistic feminist diatribes followed by a nasty family squabble. The author then tracks his mother and father, Lupe and Salvador, through the passionate and turbulent first years of their marriage, always shadowed by Salvador's bootlegging and deceit, always redeemed by Lupe's fiery strength, her bottom-line common sense and a hearty helping of sex. Lupe follows Salvador around Mexico on his criminal and other exploits before putting her foot down; the book leaves them at the start of a presumably lawful, relatively calm life in California. Though the author espouses feminist views, his female characters are one-dimensional, axiom-spouting cultural stereotypes: suffering, saintly and bitter. Where the earlier book offered an enjoyable, unreconstructed representation of early 20th-century rural Mexican culture, here that culture has been infected by a feel-good mysticism that even the California setting doesn't excuse. The story meanders through linguistic anachronisms (no man in 1929 would have said "full Latina hips"), mixed metaphors, aimless digressions, countless exclamation marks and warmed-over New Age imagery like "The Father Sun was now gone, and the Mother Moon was coming up, and the Child Earth was cooling." The author's central question about his parents' relationship "Was it love?" brings a neat if superficial unity to the narrative. 8 pages b&w photos not seen by PW.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


More About the Author

Victor Villasenor is the author of the nonfiction books Rain of Gold and Jury: The People vs. Juan Corona, and the novel, Macho! He has written several screenplays, including the award-winning The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez. Villasenor continues to live on the North County San Diego ranch where he grew up.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Rain of Gold & Thirteen Senses are just amazing books.
Myra
Villasenor has a universe of wisdom to share through his captivating stories.
Marissa Selhorst
The story related in this book was also tedious and silly.
Lisa Dilles

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Arline Curtiss on September 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Victor Villasenor writes like the very re-incarnation of the Muse itself. A classicist who knows his plot, knows his characters, knows the very stars from which we all come because he writes the truth that is stranger and more mysterious than fiction. His publisher says he writes about his own family. We know better. We know he writes about us, about us as family, about who we want to be and how we settle for who we are. And how, at the very moment of doom, we can and must demand justice from our God in order to get it.
Lupe is the heroine of this fantastic saga of human adventure. You will love Lupe. You will learn what it really means to be a beautiful woman from Lupe. You will learn what it really means to love a man from Lupe. You will learn what it really means to love life from Lupe. You will learn what it means to wake up one morning, as a new bride, and realize you have just made the biggest mistake of your life from Lupe. You will learn what it really means to honor the major commitments of your life from Lupe. You will learn how to be practically and deliciously wicked from Lupe. But most of all you will love Lupe.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Marissa Selhorst on March 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am an avid reader. There are few books that can lead me into a matrix of wisdom and forever change my world. Villasenor has a universe of wisdom to share through his captivating stories. I have read Rain of Gold which is superb and now Thirteen Senses which is every bit as marvelous. I just found out about Wild Steps of Heaven and
plan on partaking in yet another masterpiece. Everyone I have loaned one of his books to has become a true fan. I would highly reccommend Thirteen Senses! For that matter you can't go wrong with any of his books.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dave Hodges on February 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I too was moved to read "13 Senses" by a PBS radio interview. What a great story. I apreciated the fact that Victor Villasenor did not list the thirteen senses but uses the story to illustrate what they are. An extremely mature writing style that I enjoyed.
After reading "13 Senses" I then read "Rain of Gold". Thirteen Senses is to me by far the better book. It is not just reporting facts and dates; it is reporting life and feelings. Victor Villasenor in this book believes, not just reports. The many years between the two books reflexes his attained maturity and sureness.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sissy Quinn on October 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I think the sequence where Lupe is talking with her mother-in-law an Idigeneous Mexican Indian was very moving. Finished the book on our way to San Francisco were we visited our daughter-in-love" and our son and grandchild. Have been struggleing with the "Thirteenth Sense" all my life, and if I can't make it on a beautiful barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico, with my husband of 37 years, there is no hope for the rest of us. Buying the book for Christmas gifts to give all the people who give meaning to my life. Beautifully written and with such sensitivity it makes you want to invite Victor for dinner.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Victor Villasenor has done it again. He brings the gift of his family's continuing history once again. We meet up again with Lupe and Salvador on their journey through life together. I can say that this book along with Rain of Gold has touched me like no other. I have finished the book and already miss the characters. I applaude and thank the author for his wonderful gift...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Hernandez on February 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
I am a big fan of Victor Villasenor's literature. He has such a style that is serious but can make you laugh out loud. In Thirteen Senses, it starts where Rain of Gold left off. The boo chronicles the first few years of Lupe and Juan Salvadors marriage. This book is very intertaining and a delight to know that these events actually took place. I would recommend this book to anyone!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ol-lin on December 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The words float from the pages of this marvelous continuation to the masterpiece, RAIN OF GOLD. Calling it a sequel minimizes the impact of the journey Villasenor leads us through. It is a priviledge to read the prose that this great author allows us to view and what a gift that Villasenor chooses to give us all in sharing such a magnificent story with us. The realization that there are many stories like his is present, yet Villasenor has allowed us to enter a world of adventure, love, passion, mysticism and reality. Though for conventional western thought his story borders on strands of credibility, the indigenous influence never dies within those who possess it. Mr. Villasenor, I Believe!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. Jewell on December 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
Started out a little slow, but became one of my favorites by the end. The second time I read it, it was much better. It is definately on the top of my recomindation list.
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