Hypnosis by fire is not just for moths. Fires pull in people, fires become the beating heart under cities, fires gathered stories from primordial men fleeing the night.
It might have begun with a power cut- after life mostly bubble wrapped in modernity, he might have noticed the candle light drawing in insects. The light stays with you after you close your eyes, if you concentrate that is. Behind closed windows, far and towering above him, hounding him into a cold evening, he could still see orange lights tinging the curtains.
Madness, nostalgia or instinct? Maybe all- fire starter, Pyromaniac.
See the maid, how clever her children are!
When we were children, said my grandmother
They let me run & I would go- very far.
Sophistication had no movement, rather
Only a few things worth learning.
Street light orange on trees,
Dry leaved pavements.
In and out of light, two urchins
In a night without burdens.
Two women leap across the fence,
Narrating a days events,
A man streches on a bench,
Another asleep near an open trench.
A face behind the glass. Eyes shut and face made up. Like a corpse on it’s way to another world. She was colored grey by the glass.
Car’s honk and rev their engines. The signal isn’t red anymore. A girl run off the road, finding her bearings. She reaches for her coins; she still needs more money.
A woman wakes, feels cold in the air conditioned air and see prints of a little girls hands on her window.
In English spoken as Spanish, Sandra Cineros tells us all about her life at Mango street, in this short and excellent novella.
Through her tiny tales about Mango streets Cineros talks about nothing in particular, but still manages to effortlessly say so much. Every chapter takes, at most, 5 minutes to finish. Everything from the names for snow, clouds, race, sex, adolescence and culture gushes out from the writing. When you finish the book, you’ll know this living breathing street full of Latin American immigrants. You’ll probably know the juiciest gossip in and around Mango street too.
I’ve read the book twice in 3 hours. The re-reading value is ludicrous. Every entry is so varied, diverse and filled with this exotic reality that keeps you hooked. The tiny length of the stories makes it extremely easy to pick up and read casually.
Latin American culture and the Spanish Language are major sources of influence but it isn’t limited to that. Stories can feature Spanish phrases rolling of tongues and little girls hurling abuses at each other. Cieros makes no attempt to rant about serious issues, discuss the treatment of Latin Americans in America, talk about the usual jazz about life in poverty.
Cieros grapples with her sense of belonging and her futile longing to escape, to not belong, all while narrating terribly tiny tales that fascinate, engross and ooze beauty.