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I it Associates E 502 W. 15th Street Austin, Texas 78701 REALTOR Representing all types of properties in Austin and Central Texas Interesting”& unusual property a specialty. 477-3651 ANDERSON & COMPANY COFFEE TEA SPICES TWO JEFFERSON swum!: AUSTIN, TEXAS 78’7/31 512 453-1533 Send me your list. Name Street City Zip at’s It {-J11 About? his central theme is the changing Valley and essentially the Anglicization of the Mexicans. The central figures of the last two books are Jehu Malacara and Arnold young Mexican, making it in an Anglo Perkins is a land developer, political schemer, and banker working on behalf of himself and the old Anglo family he has married into. The family is used to a paternalistic view of Mexicans: “What do we have at the Ranch? Three hundred [Mexican] families, is it?” “Closer to five.” Hinojosa records with a certain admiration Perkins’ political machinations as a controllable young Mexican is maneuvered into being county commissioner and owing everything to Noddy. “Our Mex,” they call him. In Rites and Witnesses, Jehu \(whose into the Anglo world as a banker and is allowed to see Anglo power to control the Mexican people in and around Klail City. In Mi Querido Rafa, written earlier but taking place slightly later, Jehu finally quits the bank and the Valley, leaving Mexicans and Anglos alike to speculate why he has given up his great opportunity. Another young Mexican, the politiplaying out his “success” as orchestrated by Noddy Perkins. Jehu’s decision, no doubt, has its roots in Hinojosa’s own experiences as an “acceptable” Mexican. He is fair and blueeyed. His English is carefully accent-less. As a UT undergraduate he was PiKA and in Tejas Club. As a professor at Trinity, Texas A&I, and Minnesota, and as dean and vice president at A&I, he has been one of the educated ones, one of those who made it. The lure of power, of being an insider the brandy and cigars treatment must have been strong. And yet something stuck in the craw, and Hinojosa spits it out in his novels. The strongest criticism, the broadest ridicule is reserved for those Mexicans who long for Anglo success, like EYEra and Polin Tapia, who is thrilled to be asked to help out with Ira’s campaign: Tapia says to himself: Polin! Polin! You’re in the bank! The bank! What are those fools looking at? Just who do they think they are? Just who the hell do they think I am? I am Polin Tapia, goddarnmit. . . . That’s who, and I work for Noddy Perkins. You got that? Wait’ll P. Galindo hears this . . . . Shit. I’ll buy the first round. First? Second and third, goddammit. This is the big time, and it feels good. On the other hand, Hinojosa’s strongest characters are the generation of are and know how to act. One of them, don Aureliano Mora in Klail, voices what I take to be the central theme of Hinojosa’s fiction. Mora turns himself in to a policeman, don Manuel Guzman, because he has taken a crowbar to a plaque with the names of all the Klail City boys who fought in World War II, erected by the Ladies Auxiliary of the American Legion. The plaque contained the names of two of Mora’s sons, one of whom was shot down by an Anglo deputy in front of the J. C. Penney in downtown Flora. When the deputy goes unpunished, Mora does what he feels he must and then goes directly to don Manuel’s house, crowbar in hand. As don Manuel drives him home rather than to jail \(don Manuel, that we’re like Greeks, don Manuel. Greeks in the homes of Romans.” He means that the Mexicans of the Valley are like conquered Greek slaves, with a language and culture of their own, forced to serve the invaders who are merely more powerful. Mora longs for the day when la raza will be able to live in their Valley the way they did before the Anglos came. But of course that will not happen. Rather the language and culture don Aureliano Mora loves will be Romanized/Anglicized. That is the lament of still another of Hinojosa’s old men, Echevarria, in a widely anthologized prose piece called “Con el pie en el estribo” \(With one foot ing, he says, with old friends dying and young people who don’t know Spanish and don’t know how to act. The problem is the Anglos “los bolillos” with their properties and banks and contracts, who don’t recognize a handshake as legal. And the raza who are willing to screw their fellows for the fun of it who are willing to sell themselves at election time. For Echevarria there is little time left in his world the Valley and his cursed/beloved county of Belken. It is the world that Rolando Hinojosa knows very well and is driven to recreate. By the time we have met and heard the literally hundreds of characters in Hinojosa’s Valley, we know from the inside a life that no one else has written about. The stories are universal in the sense that they are about fools and heroes, about borders between cultures, between languages, between generations. But they are also unique documents of the languages spoken in one place, at one time. That Hinojosa’s writing should be so little noticed by the Romans is, I suppose, to be expected. I am reminded of one of his last Witnesses, a widow named Rebecca Ruth Verser: And I’m not saying they’re all like that . . . don’t get me wrong. But you know what I mean . . . it, it . . . it gets to you after a while; it gets to me. My God! I’ve walked into the Kresge’s-and-what-all, in and out for fifty years; and the girls? They still speak Spanish, Oh, they’ll speak English to you all right, but just as soon as they’re through waiting on you; there they go, right back at it again. . . . It’s bad manners is what it is. And you think they care? And now? Now, they go on to school and even graduate sometimes, but they still go in that Tex-Mex of theirs. . . . Thank goodness there are some educated ones finally. A very different voice, Echevarria’s, asks rhetorically, “Valle, Valle, iquien te ha visto y quien te ve?”* Well, Rolando Hinojosa, for one. “Who has seen you and who sees you now?” Parisian Charm. Omelette & Champagne Breakfast. Beautiful Crepes. Afternoon Cocktails. Gallant Waiters. Delicious Quiche. Evening Romance. Continental Steaks. Mysterious Women. Famous Pastries. Cognac & Midnight Rendezvous. In short, it’s about everything a great European style restaurant is all about. Pean St Cafe 310 East 6th St. Austin, Texas THE TEXAS OBSERVER 27