Brownsville: Stories

Book cover: Brownsville by Oscar CasaresI wish I had read Oscar Casares’s debut collection of stories when I was living in New York and feeling homesick; I read this in one sitting!  Set in Brownsville, Texas, Brownsville definitely captures the essence of life in the Rio Grande Valley.  The Texas-Mexico border is at times a world all of its own, and Casares certainly uses this to his advantage throughout his work.

The protagonists in each of the stories vary widely, from a little boy working at Mr. Z’s fireworks stand, to an older woman whose prized bowling ball is stolen.  Yet each of these characters are so incredibly recognizable to people living in south Texas.  I was especially delighted at the language and incorporation of local pronunciations of Spanglish (some of it is hysterical).

My favorite stories were “Mr. Z” (about the little boy working at the fireworks stand), “Domingo” (about the old man working in the U.S. to send money back to his wife in Mexico), and “Big Jesse, Little Jesse” (about a man whose son was born with a slight deformity).

After reading this collection of stories, I very much look forward to reading Casares’s debut novel, Amigoland.

Brownsville: Stories was released in 2003 by Bay Back Books.

Goodreads | Amazon
I read it as a(n): Paperback
Source: Purchase
Pages: 176

4 thoughts on “Brownsville: Stories

  1. Wow, small world. I was born and raised in Weslaco but have been living in Houston since 1980. I was so homesick for the Valley for many many years and every now and then I really miss it. I miss not having Barbacoba and Mexican sweet bread on Sundays. They sell it but it doesn’t even come close to the one made in the Valley.I miss hearing the Spanish Mass and hearing the old ladies from my old neighborhood talking to their neighbors while watering their plants.I miss hearing the Chicharras in the evening as I’m dozing off to sleep and hearing all the old Mexican sayings I would hear as a kid. I will definitely buy the book Brownsville.

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