By Edna Escamill
Resisting the onslaught of gringos coming to live in their southwestern border town, Bale and Maggie develop a friendship based on their common struggle. But they differ in their future possibilities: his is closed by poverty and family tragedy; hers is opened by her relationship with her Yaqui Indian grandmother, Adela Sewa. Maggie's grandmother teaches her the ways of the land and her own form of spirituality as tools for survival. Her stories, or cuentos, reach back into the nineteenth century, illuminating a way of life that has disappeared, but which can still provide hope and continuity to a displaced people.
Edna Escamill has…wrought a landmark book that will stand beyond its decade. The future gestates in these pages. The present is here in passionate immediacy. It is one of the great books of "place"—poor town, desert, mountain—recreated so vividly, every memory-sense alive. Its people…are written differently with such complexity, fullness of dimension, they become unforgettable…a book absolutely necessary to our growing national vision.