Arte Publico Press

New Book :: Against the Wall

Against the Wall Stories by Alberto Roblest book cover image

Against the Wall
Stories by Alberto Roblest
Arte Público Press, March 2022

In the prologue to this inventive collection, the exhausted protagonist finally reaches the doors to paradise after an arduous journey, but the longed-for entrance doesn’t have a handle or keyhole and there’s no bell or intercom. He considers climbing over it, but the wall reaches to the sky. He thinks of magic words that might open it and even kicks it, to no avail. The long, difficult trip has brought him to nothing except a concrete wall surrounded by desert. The characters in these seventeen stories find themselves with their backs against the wall, whether literally or figuratively. They run the gamut from undocumented immigrants to faded rock and soap-opera stars and even the Washington Monument. The eyes of the world focus on the blackened obelisk, which is covered in millions of insects, as government forces attempt to deal with this national emergency! Several pieces deal with people who are lost or long to go back in time. In one, Ramírez wakes up disoriented to discover he—along with untold others—is trapped in a bus terminal, unable to leave the Lost & Found area that’s piled high with thousands of suitcases, trunks, backpacks and packages.

New Book :: The Displaced

The Displaced a novel by Rodrigo Ribera d'Ebre book cover image

The Displaced
Fiction by Rodrigo Ribera d’Ebre
Arte Público Press, June 2022

Mikey and Lurch are worlds apart, even if they’re from the same Mexican neighborhood in West Los Angeles. Mikey just graduated from UCLA and is determined to get out. Lurch, the leader of the Culver City gang, loves the hood—its projects, beat-up apartments, and crackheads—more than his own life. They hook up with a doctor, who is from the same area. He put himself through medical school selling dope and now is back, running a clinic across from the Mar Vista Gardens housing project. All three notice changes. Suddenly there are outsiders everywhere: white people with beards, wearing V-neck sweaters and plaid shirts, running in jogging outfits or riding bikes with helmets, oblivious to the gangbangers. They’re artists, students, developers and entrepreneurs; a plague, pushing people out of their homes. Old people on fixed incomes start getting evicted or foreclosed on and the residents of the projects are being relocated, but some of the locals aren’t going to sit by without a fight. Soon they are fortifying the housing projects and stockpiling assault weapons! This absorbing novel follows a group of people who are determined to save their homes and neighborhood from gentrification, even if it means turning to violence.

New Book :: Chronicles of a Luchador

Chronicles of a Luchador YA fiction by Ray Villareal book cover image

Chronicles of a Luchador
YA Fiction by Ray Villareal
Arte Público Press, June 2022

Jesse Baron, the son of the American Championship Wrestling star known as the Angel of Death, is about to graduate from high school. His parents expect him to attend the University of Texas and study mechanical engineering, something he’s not interested in. The young man knows he would be a natural at professional wrestling, and with his father’s help, he might even reach the same level of fame and success. But the Angel of Death, retired from the ACW and running a wrestling promotion and school, refuses to train his son for fear he will choose sports entertainment over a college degree. Jesse decides that once he gets settled at UT, he’s going to look for another place to wrestle. To keep his father from finding out, he’ll promote himself as a masked luchador from Oaxaca, Mexico, named Máscara de la Muerte. When no one will hire him, Jesse reluctantly considers joining a lucha libre organization, even though he doesn’t speak Spanish. Will the fans and his fellow wrestlers see him as a luchador—or just a gringo with a mask?

New Book :: The Ultimate Havana

The Ultimate Havana: A Willie Cuesta Mystery by John Lantigua book cover image

The Ultimate Havana: A Willie Cuesta Mystery
Fiction by John Lantigua
Arte Público Press, March 2022

Willie Cuesta, former Miami Police detective turned private investigator, is struggling to pay the bills when he receives a call from an old family friend. Cesar Mendoza is the blind, elderly owner of Tabacos El Ciego, a cigar store in Little Havana. Cesar is worried about Victoria Espada, a friend from the old days in Cuba. As a young woman, she was so beautiful that cigar makers competed to put her image on their boxes. She came from a long line of tobacco growers and married a man from an old, respected clan of cigar makers. The couple, who represented one of the great cigar dynasties of all time, fled the island after the revolution, but things didn’t go well. Ernesto Espada ultimately committed suicide, leaving his widow with two young children to raise. Now, her son, a less-than-successful cigar salesman, has gone missing, and the detective is tasked with finding him.

New Book :: Voices from the Other Side of Death

Voices from the Other Side of Death poetry by Ariel Dorfman book cover image

Voices from the Other Side of Death
Poetry by Ariel Dorfman
Arte Público Press, June 2022

Voices from the Other Side of Death by Ariel Dorfman offers readers a series of poems written from the perspective of deceased historical figures to contemporary politicians and soldiers, warning about the need for reckoning and atonement. In one, Pablo Picasso speaks to Colin Powell, asking why his famous painting depicting the horror of war, Guernica, was covered when the secretary of state spoke about the invasion of Iraq at the United Nations. Others explore connections to loved ones, including “the love of my life, Angélica, the woman who helped me survive exile and tribulations and peopled my world with hope.” Dorfman writes about the passionate love the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan felt for his wife, which led to the construction of the Taj Mahal, and imagines conversations between William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes, who died within hours of each other. These poems share the most human of emotions and expose Dorfman’s vulnerability as he embarks on the last leg of his journey.

New Book :: Women and Print Culture

Women and Print Culture book cover image

Women and Print Culture
Essays edited by Donna M. Kabalen Vanek and María Teresa Mijares Cervantes
Arte Público Press, November 2021

This collection of ten essays, based on the examination of publications from the US-Mexico region between 1850-1950, explores the role of women in print culture. Leading to a better understanding of women in the history of Mexican border life, the essays are organized in three thematic groupings: “Exploring the Archives: Women and Written Culture in Northeastern Mexico during the Late Nineteenth Century,” “The Cultural History of Women and Print Culture” and “A Transcultural View of Women and their Role as Activists in Northern Mexico and Texas.”