Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $4.14 shipping
+ $5.14 shipping
+ Free Shipping
The Mixquiahuala Letters Paperback – March 18, 1992
See the Best Books of 2017 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"A wonderful, wonderful book." --Maxine Hong Kingston
"Like a disciplined athlete, Castillo makes even the most difficult moves look easy." --San Francisco Chronicle
From the Publisher
The first novel by the noted Chicana poet, this is an epistolary novel in the tradition of Cortozor's Hopscotch. It focuses on the friendship between two strong and fiercely independent Hispanic women and examines Mexican and Hispanic forms of love and gender conflict and the role thal female friendships play within it.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
Second, I thought that Alicia, the friend of the central character, Teresa, to be stereo-
typed as a flat-chested, plain white woman. Thus, it is that Tere, as a Chicana,
is of course not so. Third, both woman turn out to be victimized in one way or another by society, or men, but mostly by men. Teresa, as a Chicana, is the major victim. In fact she manages to wrap her
victimization by men as a feature of our society. Victimized by society, ultimately.
Not to be completely down on this work, I kinda liked the Mexico episodes.
I think what I most dislike about this book is that it's a pigeon-holed book - a feminist, Chicana (or should that be - a feminist-Chicana) story. Labeling it so, it pretty much takes
someone like me out of the reading public, since I am neither.
I think Ms. Castillo should have aimed higher. I think she should have written a book with wider
appeal. Neither one of the characters makes me want to like, or admire, them. I guess
the worse I could say about this effort is that, well, it bored me. A boring story about two
Literature describes the human condition. In the process, you come to know the character,
live their life, feel their joy, their pain. Perhaps laugh with them, or even cry. Finally, you're life
is enriched, because you've learned things about another life which is illuminating or uplifting, in
spite of their dispair.
This book missed. It is just a feminist-Chicana book. Too bad.
It's the (sort of) story of two women, one a white American artist, Alicia, and one a Chicana poet, Teresa, who meet in an artists' retreat. They forge a friendship and proceed to experience several adventures in Mexico, falling into dangerous situations at every turn, and they help to support one another in their efforts to build successful creative careers and to build and sustain relationships. The stories are told through letters posted from Teresa to Alicia, and they are collected in a "choose-your-own-adventure" sort of structure, as Castillo lays out and recommends three orders--for the Conformist, the Cynic, and the Quixotic--in which to read the letters.
The novel didn't work for me for several reasons. First, the characters are flat and lifeless. The men, especially, are just horrible caricatures. I don't think that Alicia and Teresa, especially when they're in Mexico, meet a man who doesn't want to rape them. Even Teresa and Alicia, though, are lifeless. Many of the letters read as though they are Teresa's psychological diagnosis of Alicia, and that's how Alicia is in the novel, an object, a psychological specimen or symbol, rather than a human. The characters are lifeless, here to make Castillo's points.
The choose-your-own-adventure pattern of the story is a barrier, too, to me for entering the story. I've always thought that a part of what is special and powerful about the novel is the ability it offers for you to sort of share the consciousness of the character or narrator, to enter into that figure's mind and story. That's why the novel is an important tool for promoting justice for marginalized people such as Chicana women; it allows the reader to empathize. The choose-your-own-adventure structure, though, made this novel too much about me.
Lastly, and most importantly, The Mixquiahuala Letters didn't work just because it was boring. It really was. Besides some brief moments when the characters are in Mexico, nothing happens. I read this with a classroom full of graduate students (all of whom would have been considered sympathetic to Castillo's perspective), and I think that we were pretty united in finding this novel uniquely dull.
It almost shouldn't be called a novel. It's, instead, a thought-piece and would have been more successful as an essay.