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Originally published in hardcover by UNM Press in 2004, "The Horse in the Kitchen" won the American Book Award in 2005. Now issued in paperback by 48HrBooks, the reprint adds the autobiographical essay, "A Father's Tears", exploring the machismo of the patriarch whose son discovers in his father a tenderness he hadn't anticipated. Americans considering ramifications of the border wall in 2019 will find a contrast with the experiences of Mexican immigrants portrayed in this fictionalized memoir of the author's father.
Rudolfo Anaya, author of Bless Me, Ultima, said of the hardbound edition published by UNM Press in 2004, The Horse in the Kitchen is "a heart-warming story of one family's struggles, survival, and eventual triumph. This immigration saga fits in the tradition of Barrio Boy and Y no se lo tragó la tierra. So readable you can't put it down. It captures the history of the turbulent times."
Francisco Jimenez, author of The Circuit, said, "Ralph M. Flores's The Horse in the Kitchen: Stories of a Mexican-American Family is an entertaining and inspirational work of fiction based on the life of the author's father who moves with his family from Mexico to Arizona to escape the social upheaval of the Mexican Revolution. It is a heartfelt tribute to his father whose life in Mexico and the United States is marked by courage, widsom, hard work love, and integrity--values characteristic of many immigrants."
A reviewer on amazon.com has inspired a Spanish translation now in the works: What a delightful book of familia tales. From the early 1900's, some of the family's stories are humorous and some heartbreaking. A real view into a Mexican family's life in Mexico and then after immigrating to the US. I know my Mexican husband would enjoy this very much. This should be available in Spanish.
Born in East L.A. in 1940 to his father who was an immigrant from Sonora and his mother, an orphan raised with her sister by an Anglo woman, Ralph Miranda Flores could have gone in a different direction from the one he chose. Once his father asked Ralph's teacher if he read too much, but she said, "Let him be." Ralph would cruise along library shelves picking whatever interested him. Early he felt himself a misfit, struggled with existential nausea but managed to gain a B.A. and M.A., survived the Army on a missile base in Turkey, went in and out of his first marriage teaching in Guam before he ended up dropping out to live in La Joya, N.M. and then Silver City during the 1970s--the years fictionalized in Tales from La Perla. After writing and editing for Mothering Magazine, he resumed teaching first at UNM-VC and then at CNM, married again and had children, published The Horse in the Kitchen, and tended his garden in Tomé until he died in 2017, leaving behind a passel of unpublished stories, essays, poems, even an apocalyptic novel called Farmhome. Ralph was happy when folks thought he could be Mexican, Indian, Filipino, or someone else of dark-skinned derivation in la raza cósmica.
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