từ Marlbank, ON K0K, Canada
Luis Gonzalez Obregon was a creature of the old Mexico City, not the belching chaos that exists in the Valley of Anahuac now, but the smaller, lovelier city once known as "the City of Palaces." (It may have been kinder on middle-class eyes, but it has never been a welcoming place for the poor). He was a keeper and teller of legends, with a clear and amenable Spanish, and a gift for the astonishing detail. Witness his discussion of the graffiti that the disaffected veterans of the conquest of the Aztecs scrawled on walls (and which Hernan Cortes answered in kind), or his retelling of how in 1820 the soldiers of the new, liberal Spain broke down the doors of the Inquisition and released the last, haunted souls imprisoned there for thinking or reading the wrong things. There are ghosts and witches and monasteries (and murders within monasteries). It is a city that no longer exists (although the building of the Inquisition is still there, with its imposing facade of purplish volcanic rock; when I was last there it was home to a Museum of Medicine with an exhibit on instruments of torture). The city that has replaced it is growing (although most of the growth is now in the suburbs), in constant flux, and, it should be noted, relatively free of violence at the moment (another export to the more monied suburbs). Like a handful of other cities, especially in China, India and Brazil, Mexico City tests the limits of what a city can do. Gonzalez Obregon reminds us of what was there and how far we have come.
Why I like this book: Strunk and White's original is one of the most humorously contrived things ever written, but we ALL read it because we ALL want to be good writers. Maira Kalman's illustrations are DEEEElightful! and poke fun at strunk & white in a really pretty way. anyways, we all love EB white, and you KNOW that's the truth.