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Richard Rodriguez riffs eloquent (and elegant, frequently) in this collection of essays that he intends as an autobiographic statement. My favorite chapters were on California (Disappointment) and Cesar Chavez (Saint Cesar of Delano) in which Rodriguez's insights are both personal and startlingly convincing.

If there is a uniting thread in this collection, it is the essays devoted to examination of the three religions that sprang of desert origins--Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The author's own ambivalent but steady connection to Catholicism is examined throughout, particularly when he is musing about homosexuality and women. His observations on these subjects are compelling and authentic.

Rodriguez's writing can be both lyrical and opaque, and it takes some patience to sort through some of his often meandering thoughts. This style is also a strength (at least for me) as it requires some proactive digging by the reader for the nuggets that are more often than not buried in the prose.
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