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Roberto Garcia is only seventeen, but he already has big dreams of making his fortune, building a family, and gaining the respect of his community. With ambition to burn and a passion to prove his manhood, Roberto takes the dangerous journey north, crossing the Mexican border to pick fruit in the "golden fields" of California. It is said that a good man can make more money there in a week than in an entire year in the mountains of Michoacan, his home. With dreams that overshadow harsh realities, Roberto is unprepared for the jammed boxcars and bolted trucks that carry undervalued migrant workers through the searing desert to long days of harsh labor.
Raw, powerful, poetic, and heartbreaking, Macho brings to life the brutality of migrant labor, Cesar Chavez's efforts to unionize workers, and a vivid portrayal of the immigrant experience through the eyes of a brave young man who bids goodbye to everything he knows to follow his dreams.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-10-29
- Reviewer: Staff
VillaseÃ±or's (Lion Eyes) sharp storytelling skills are on display in this reissue of his first novel, originally published in 1973. Roberto Garcia lives in the rural MichoacÃ¡n mountains of Mexico. A nearby factory has polluted the air and destroyed crops, so Roberto earns a living for his family on a cattle ranch while his father wastes away in the local cantina. While in town, Roberto runs into a group of norteÃ±os, locals who make money working in the United States and are known by their nice clothes and Texan hats. Juan Aguilar, a friend of Roberto's father and one of the most experienced norteÃ±os, asks Roberto to go north with them. Realizing the money he could make and bring home to his family, Roberto agrees. On his epic journey north, Roberto stays in brutal and destitute temporary cities at the border and gets mixed up in a strike led by Cesar Chavez. When he receives word that his father has been killed by an old enemy, Roberto returns home, planning to avenge his father's death and consider what it really means to be a man. Interspersed with terse and bleak histories of Mexican migrant workers, VillaseÃ±or's frank verisimilitude and story book tone combine to form an unforgettable read. (Oct.)