“Carmen Baca’s work captures reality, mythology and the mystery of years gone by using vivid language and feeling. One can smell every tree, thunderclouds rolling by, fresh tortillas on the grill, or the balls of fire as brujas approach.”
- Nicolasa Chávez, Deputy State Historian, Author and Curator
When she opens an old photo album, Bella falls into a world where the gente of New Mexican folklore are on the verge of disappearing if she, her family, and community forget them: Don Cacahuate y Doña Cebolla, Coyote, duendes, Santa Sebastiana/Santa Muerte, the deadly Malhora, Llorona, and Coco, among others. Ancianos of Bella’s family line teach her what no one else has told her about her culture: the practices of the curandera, the forecasting of the weather through Cabañuelas by the farmer, the history of the Spanish dialect spoken in northern New Mexico and almost nowhere else, and more. But will she survive to pass on the tales?
Bella is the youngest in her family, excluded from memories shared between her older siblings and parents, who only ask that she focus on her education. No one asks about Bella the person, Bella the silent observer, never chosen to play with her school peers or invited to parties. She avoids drawing attention to herself, minimizes her presence as much as possible. But could things be different one day? Her first chance to try might be in this alternate realm that resembles her home, but isn’t quite the way she’s ever experienced it.
CARMEN BACA taught high school and college English for thirty-six years before retiring in 2014. Her debut novel El Hermano, published in April 2017, was a 2018 finalist in the NM-AZ book awards program. Her third book, Cuentos del Cañón, received first place for short story fiction anthology in 2020 from the same program. To date, she has published five books and close to fifty short works in online literary magazines and anthologies.
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Publisher: Somos en escrito Literary Foundation Press (November 12, 2022)
Language: English with Spanish mixed in
Paperback: 233 pages
Somos en escrito Literary Foundation Press is a division of the Somos en escrito Literary Foundation, a non-profit tax exempt organization, which also operates Somos en escrito Magazine, an online literary publication (somosenescrito.com).