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Diving for Carlos: Or, Heroes' Welcome Blues [Paperback]

William J. Jackson

Price: 9.55 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

13 Dec 2011
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, filmmaker

Product details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (13 Dec 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1466435674
  • ISBN-13: 978-1466435674
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 13.8 x 21.3 cm

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Some of my best friends while growing up in Rock Island, Illinois, were Mexican- Americans. In high school we shared many adventures. After years of living in New York, Vermont, and India I returned to my hometown and rediscovered my admiration for my old friends there, and saw that a colorful Mexican-American neighborhood had been re-christened “Hero Street” in honor of the men it had sent to America’s wars. I wanted to tell a story about Midwest America with a narrator from this community. Diving for Carlos is an American myth. The narrator (Cruz) is mestizo, of mixed ancestry. I identify with this, feeling my psyche is a mix of influences—twenty-five years of studying and writing about India, teaching Asian Religions and Comparative Religion for twenty-five years, deeply interested in African-American music and creativity, married to a Jewish woman for forty-some years, etc. I think most Americans are now multi-cultural. I studied at Goodman Theatre, the Art Institute of Chicago; in Vermont; in India; and I received my PhD at Harvard University. I taught courses about Comparative Religion for 25 years at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. I am the author of books about the singer-saints of South India ("Vijayanagara Visions"), fractals in cultures ("Heaven's Fractal Net"), and compassion in America ("The Wisdom of Generosity"). Besides writing, I like to make collages of found objects, and to edit music videos. Diving for Carlos was a finalist in ForeWord magazine's Book of the Year Awards in the fiction category. A suspense novel by me, Gypsy Escapades, set in India, is being published by Rupa Publications in New Delhi.

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery repeats itself. 11 July 2012
By Michael S. Hickey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
"Reading Diving for Carlos... As the characterizations of Scoto and his
half brother Lucian get more ridiculous they become true. One does not
have to look far to see that their reality appears timeless. The same
stories go on in real time. I'm not listening to News and NPR now. I'm
getting my news from "Diving for Carlos". -Mike Hickey, Apollo Beach,
FL
5.0 out of 5 stars Places I've never been... 15 Aug 2011
By John Govoni - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Thanks Bill for this delightful, zany trip down the memory lane I never really traveled. Having been a war resister and Draft dropout(actually drafted by mistake!!! and the local board let me finish school, sort of).
Carlos might be the man I never was or even a legend in my own mind. His exploits are kinda like deja vu all over again except on the East Coast and living a lie.

A read and a reread (to make sure I got it all) for sure.
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