Diving for Carlos Cover Image
Diving for Carlos Cover Image

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Or, Heroes' Welcome Blues by

Paperback, Published in Dec 2011 by Createspace

ISBN10: 1466435674 | ISBN13: 9781466435674

Page count: 424

The narrator, Hector Cruz, is a Vietnam Veteran from Hero Street, a Midwest neighborhood which has sent generations of Mexican-American soldiers to the wars our nation has fought. Diving for Carlos opens with Cruz haunted by his brother Carlos, searching through the past to make peace with childhood and family troubles, teenage traumas, wartime dilemmas and hometown blues. Remembering his adventures with pals in a teenage gang, and two larger-than-life half-brothers (a big businessman-politician and an eccentric priest), and his friendship with a mysterious pregnant girl he rescued (who may be the mother of us all) and other women who inspired him, Cruz recognizes the healing hilarity in his life. Cruz's ethnic identity is mistaken by various people who assume he's from a variety of different backgrounds. He's a hard man to pigeonhole. He's a Vietnam vet grown mellow, who returns to his hometown haunted by his recently deceased wild brother Carlos. He retraces forgotten paths, re-experiencing some nighmarish traumas he has repressed, and he pieces together memories, healing his life somewhat by seeing more of his past and coming to terms with his long gone father. He embraces his life and gets on with it. The story is a journey toward getting some peace of mind, with American language, surreal historical elements, memories of teenage wildness, flashbacks of serving in Vietnam, and moments of grace along the way. For example, Lupita, retrieved into the modern age by researchers at a Government laboratory, with the narrator's help, escapes and shares adventures with him and the kids he hangs out with during an eventful springtime, before going home to the past.The story opens out at various points to the struggle and play of archetypal forces in America. It braids the personal, local, regional (Illinois, Mississippi river) level with surrealist level of larger-than-life American myth, and has a scope spanning and reflecting the last half of the 20th century. It ridicules racism, polluters and greed. Unique aspects of Diving for Carlos include a new telling for our age of the "Two Brothers" -- trickster tales found in many Native American all across the continent; the character Lupita, the mother of the human race spending a season in the modern world; the character Rev, a dedicated activist priest who is accused of outrageous actions by his powerful half-brother who is a tycoon and power-hungry control-freak; the hi-jinx of a gang of kids embodying all the youthful spirits of America; and the colorful language of the Midwest employed to tell a story in the tradition of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn and Burroughs' Naked Lunch. This anti-war novel is a rebel's yell from the heartland, in the spirit of teen fury. It's a wildly funny take on the absurdities of the establishment, as seen and told by Cruz, a Chicano Vietnam Vet, remembering a crazy springtime at the end of his high school days. "Jackson captures the disparate strains of late 20th century America in a wild and woolly ride through the Heartland of the 'Homeland.' A real tour de force. The battle of good and evil in the characters of Lucian and Lupi versus Scoto Conelrad seems a wonderfilled reflection of what is going on in our country. How it will end is anybody's guess." -John Evans. Artist and founder of the Avenue B School of Art, NYC "Bill Jackson weaves a narrative around the theme of searching for the father, thereby discovering the unfathomable forces that drive the recesses of one's mind. It is done through the turmoils and fantasies of two mythological native American brothers. In the process, facets of American life that define our time emerge." -B.D. Nageshwara Rao "This clever, punny, beat novel transcends reality with creative metaphor, particularly as out Vietnam vet protagonist finds himself snaking his way inside a travelling replica of the Vietnam Wall, in the crawlspace of his own wartime memories." -Catherine Crouch, fil

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