Fe y tragedias
Faith and Tragedies in Hispanic Villages of New Mexico
by Nasario Garcia

174 pages 23 illustrations
$16.95/PB (978-1-890689-56-8)

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The stories of tragedy and sadness shared by old-timers (viejitos) in Fe y tragedias: Faith and Tragedy in Hispanic Villages of New Mexico are as diverse as the voices behind them. Each bilingual (Spanish and English) account personifies faith, fortitude, compassion, and buoyancy. Without these human attributes, people beset with tragedy would have succumbed to tragedy itself.

The high point of interest in this book is not to promote or engage in doom and gloom. Rather, it is to acquaint and educate readers on how humble but strong and devout folks living in isolation—in most cases far removed geographically from an urban environment—coped with tragedy and despair. The net and psychological effect of murder, drowning, the Rangers’ indiscriminate and callous slaughtering of poor people’s cattle, bewitchment, or the quirks of nature (e. g. , baby born with frog features) on the human psyche was profound but not daunting. Tom Chávez’s eloquent words in his Preface summed up best the old-timers’ poignant past when he said, “These are real people talking about real lives. They are witnesses to their own history.”

If the victims of misfortune became heroes in their community, then the aggrieved surely could be categorized as tragic heroes. A more praiseworthy tribute could not be accorded these courageous and remarkable men and women who believed in redemption.

Nasario García was born in Bernalillo, New Mexico and grew up in the Río Puerco Valley southeast of Chaco Canyon. He received his BA and MA degrees in Spanish and Portuguese from the University of New Mexico. While a doctoral student at the University of Granada, Spain he studied under the eminent linguist Dr. Manuel Alvar. García was awarded his Ph. D. in XIX century Spanish literature from the University of Pittsburgh.

He began his teaching career at Chatham College in Pittsburgh and subsequently taught in Illinois, New Mexico and Colorado. At the University of Southern Colorado, he served as Assistant Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs as well as Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.

As a university professor, García received numerous research, teaching, and community awards. He delivered over 150 lectures at international, national, regional, state and local conferences—including Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, and Spain. His lectures linking New Mexico to Spain culturally and linguistically were at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, the University of Alcalá de Henares, and Casa de América in Madrid. In 1991 he was elected president of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP). He also served as president of the New Mexico Folklore Society.

For the past 30-plus years García has devoted his life to the preservation of Hispanic language, culture and folklore of New Mexico. He has authored/co-authored 21 books. Among them are—Old Las Vegas: Hispanic Memories from the New Mexico Meadowlands (Texas Tech University Press, 2005), winner of the Southwest Book Award; and Brujerías: Stories of Witchcraft and the Supernatural in the American Southwest and Beyond (Texas Tech University, 2007), Southwest Books of the Year and a 2008 finalist for the New Mexico Book Awards.

His latest publications include The Naked Rainbow and Other Stories: El arco iris y otros cuentos (University of New Mexico Press, 2009) and Rattling Chains and Other Stories for Children: Ruido de cadenas y otros cuentos para niños (Arte Público Press, 2009). An Emeritus Professor of Spanish, García currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.