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The Astral Plane Cover Image

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Stories of Cuba, the Southwest and Beyond by

Paperback, Published in Mar 2012 by University of New Orleans Press

ISBN10: 1608010767 | ISBN13: 9781608010769

Page count: 231

Carolina Caballero, Ph.D. Review Source: LatinoLA Review Date: February 2nd, 2012 Review Content: In her new compilation of short fiction The Astral Plane: Stories of Cuba, the Southwest and Beyond, Teresa Dovalpage offers a diversity characters in the midst of decisions and transitions. In the presence of South Indian Yogis, New Mexican Santeros, Afro-Cuban Orishas, Edgar Allen Poe, The Beatles and La Llorona, the author details moments in the lives of Cubans, Nuevo Mexicanos and Anglo-Americans. The stories are sometimes comical and often tragic but always engaging. In each one, Dovalpage reminds us that any choice we make, from deciding to leave the country, to walking around the block to engaging in a conversation with a total stranger, could become momentous. In the blink of an eye, the insignificant turns historic. Although each story is self contained and can be read independently, it is when they are read together that they are most affective, unsettling, comic and heartfelt. Characters, storylines, and motifs reappear from one tale to the next, informing and enriching each other. While every story is distinct, these protagonists, who are from varied cultural and economic backgrounds, share common struggles as they stumble in search for a way to escape or a place to land, to live, to be who they are. There are no heroes in these stories but they are not villains either, much like in everyday life. Oddly, that is what is most comforting, for lack of a better word, about The Astral Plane: Stories of Cuba, the Southwest and Beyond, at least for this reader. Dovalpage's characters exude an unapologetic normalcy in their flaws that even toothless false prophets, calculating serial killers, conniving prostitutes, and scheming mothers-in-law become endearing in the end.

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