…y no se lo tragó la tierra / …And the Earth Did Not Devour Him
by Tomás Rivera
English translation: Evangelina Vigil-Piñón
Publication Date: September 30, 2015
Bind: Trade Paperback
“I tell you, God could care less about the poor. Tell me, why must we live here like this? What have we done to deserve this? You’re so good and yet you suffer so much,” a young boy tells his mother in Tomás Rivera’s classic novel about the migrant worker experience. Outside the chicken coop that is their home, his father wails in pain from the unbearable cramps brought on by sunstroke after working in the hot fields. The young boy can’t understand his parents’ faith in a god that would impose such horrible suffering, poverty and injustice on innocent people.
Adapted into the award-winning film …and the earth did not swallow him and recipient of the first award for Chicano literature, the Premio Quinto Sol, in 1970, Rivera’s masterpiece recounts the experiences of a Mexican-American community through the eyes of a young boy. Forced to leave their home in search of work, the migrants are exploited by farmers, shopkeepers, even other Mexican Americans, and the boy must forge his identity in the face of exploitation, death and disease, constant moving and conflicts with school officials.
In this new edition of a powerful novel comprised of short vignettes, Rivera writes hauntingly about alienation, love and betrayal, man and nature, death and resurrection and the search for community.
“One of the first major novels of the [Chicano literature] revival.”—The New York Times
“Rivera’s technique is to present clipped chapters of description, monologue, short narrative, and even a prayer. The result is a document of family life lived on the edge as well as an indictment of prejudice on both sides of the border. Compelling, direct, and poignant, Rivera’s narrative avoids the extremes of both sentimentality and sensationalism.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Praised since its original publication in 1971 for its moving depiction of Chicano/a migrant worker experiences in Southern Texas, the novel’s presentation of precariousness, exploitation, and marginalization profoundly resonates with recent events in US politics.”—Journal of South Texas
TOMÁS RIVERA (1935-1984) was born to a family of migrant farm workers in the South Texas town of Crystal City. In spite of moving constantly to work the crops, he managed to graduate from high school. He went on to obtain a degree in English from Southwest Texas State University, and then earned a master’s degree in Spanish literature and a doctorate in Romance languages and literatures. He became a university administrator, and in 1979 he was appointed chancellor of the University of California, Riverside, a position he held for five years until his sudden death in 1984.