Calle 10: A Novel

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Mercury House, 1996 - Fiction - 154 pages
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In his first full-length novel, oft-anthologised short-story writer Romero does a good job of portraying the trials associated with an impoverished life. But simply because a novel showcases a Chicano protagonist in a barrio setting does not mean it is necessarily moving or powerful. Calle 10 introduces us to Zero, a college-educated 30-year-old headed nowhere in a rooming house on "Calle 10" -- Tenth Street -- in Ciudad Jimenez, near Oakland, Calif. With no prospects, drug-addled companions, addictive tendencies of his own and little hope for his own future, Zero often dreams of ways to escape his situation, but rarely does a thing, save ingesting drugs. Romero provides little insight into Zero's true motivations or lack thereof. It is both the lack of self-examination on Zero's part and the absence of a definitive conclusion to the work which makes Calle 10 a frustrating and disappointing novel. Despite some compelling writing, brazenly realistic at times, it reads like only a fraction of a much larger piece. As an author Romero has talent to spare, but one only wishes that in a novel-length book he had worked longer and more thoughtfully on his characterisations.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Romero's first novel is a confused and finally monotonous compilation of drugged-out scenes in a Bay Area Chicano neighborhood. Zero is a 30-year-old Chicano who has completed eight drunken years of ... Read full review


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