A daring memoir of love, magic, adventure, and miracles, Victor Villaseñor's Thirteen Senses continues the exhilarating family saga that began in the widely acclaimed bestseller Rain of Gold, delivering a stunning story of passion, family, and the forgotten mystical senses that stir within us all.
Thirteen Senses begins with the fiftieth wedding anniversary of the aging former bootlegger Salvador and his elegant wife, Lupe. When asked by a young priest to repeat the sacred ceremonial phrase "to honor and obey," Lupe surprises herself and says. "No, I will not say 'obey'. How dare you! You don't talk to me like this after fifty years of marriage and I now knowing what I know!" After the hilarious shock of Lupe's rejection of the ceremony, the Villaseñor family is forced to examine the love that Lupe and Salvador have shared for so many years -- a universal, gut-honest love that will eventually energize and inspire the couple into old age.
Fans of Villase or's admirable family epic, Rain of Gold (Arte Publico, 1991) will be hard-pressed to wade through this massive, workmanlike sequel. The book's humorous opening at the 50th-anniversary renewal of Villase or's parents' wedding vows, the "bride" refuses to say "obey" as her sister catcalls from the front pew about the groom's unreliability gives way to a series of simplistic feminist diatribes followed by a nasty family squabble. The author then tracks his mother and father, Lupe and Salvador, through the passionate and turbulent first years of their marriage, always shadowed by Salvador's bootlegging and deceit, always redeemed by Lupe's fiery strength, her bottom-line common sense and a hearty helping of sex. Lupe follows Salvador around Mexico on his criminal and other exploits before putting her foot down; the book leaves them at the start of a presumably lawful, relatively calm life in California. Though the author espouses feminist views, his female characters are one-dimensional, axiom-spouting cultural stereotypes: suffering, saintly and bitter. Where the earlier book offered an enjoyable, unreconstructed representation of early 20th-century rural Mexican culture, here that culture has been infected by a feel-good mysticism that even the California setting doesn't excuse. The story meanders through linguistic anachronisms (no man in 1929 would have said "full Latinahips"), mixed metaphors, aimless digressions, countless exclamation marks and warmed-over New Age imagery like "The Father Sun was now gone, and the Mother Moon was coming up, and the Child Earth was cooling." The author's central question about his parents' relationship "Was it love?" brings a neat if superficial unity to the narrative. 8 pages b&w photos not seen by PW.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Absolutely love, love, loved this book! I couldn't wait to get back to the book to read it. I wish I could have met Salvador and Lupe's mothers. So much faith in those two women. I was disappointed that the book came to an end. Awesome love story of Salvador and Lupe. May they be happy in love in heaven.