Here’s my review of Daniel Olivas’s The Book of Want (University of Arizona Press):
This review originally appeared in the March 2011 issue of Los Angeles magazine.
The first novel from L.A. writer (and California deputy attorney general) Daniel A. Olivas focuses on Belén, the deceased, cigarette-puffing matriarch of a Latino family who continues to meddle in her daughters’ affairs through their dreams. Olivas, who also edited the anthology Latinos in Lotusland, grew up in Koreatown and Pico-Union, and he sets much of the fanciful story near his old haunts. His brand of magical realism has a sense of humor about itself, and he succeeds in harnessing the genre’s unique ability to expose what’s beneath the surface. // WENDY WITHERSPOON