I think I read this a long time ago, but since a teacher wants to use it in class, I thought I’d read it again. There is much that was probably new here and there is much to be admired. Some / much of the writing is stilted and wooden (especially the dialogue), and there’s something of a lack of attention to detail. (Objects just appear without being introduced; they are just conveniently there.) A few too many characters are one trick ponies and the pacing lags more than it doesn’t.

So what makes this so compelling for some? Is it Antonio’s religious struggle – the Golden Carp vs. the Catholic religion? The llano vs. the priesthood? There are some moving passages and I admire Anaya’s willingness to create a difficult ending. I do wonder, though, how well the questions of religion will go over with some students and families?

We’ll see how it goes.