Beware the Bantam Fighter: Stories


Collection of interrelated short stories depicts the lives of a Puerto Rican family.

by David I. Santiago

ISBN: 979-8-89375-000-3
Publication Date: September 30, 2024
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 156

Not yet published

Word spreads through Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood that Josephina Burgos is on the move, strutting down the street with her children in tow.  “She is mother hen, a bantam fighter walking into a pitter’s entrance ready to put on a show.” Even the Spanish Cobras move aside as she pushes the stroller through their territory. The crowd—now her flock—circles around as she approaches the boys who hurt her son. “There is no escaping her spur. Her words are claws, filled with fury and truth.”

In this collection of interrelated stories, David I. Santiago braids together one Puerto Rican family’s experiences on the mainland and the island to create an engaging look at their cultural heritage and its effect on assimilation and daily life. In Fajardo, a curse on the family causes a powerful storm to blow Roberto and his father offshore, almost leading to their deaths. Luis remembers trips to visit family and the awareness of familial memories—not exact ones, but contours passed from one generation to the next. Carlos, a professional baseball player close to forced retirement due to injuries, gets another chance in the game when he is traded to work with an underachieving pitcher. And Ofelia, an expert in maternal issues with a PhD in public health, finds herself being sabotaged as she is about to give the keynote address at an important conference. But like her mother Josephina, she is a bantam who will not give in without a fight!

Santiago skillfully depicts characters navigating the maze of tradition and the dominant culture around them while also examining themes such as the binary nature of race in the US that lumps all Puerto Ricans into one category—undesirable. His debut collection is a thoughtful and entertaining look at the multiculturalism of American society.