In this haunting novel about two young vatos, author Sergio Elizondo eulogizes Óscar Balboa and Valentín Rodríguez, who are sixteen and nineteen respectively when they are shot and killed by the police in Austin, Texas. On leave from Camp Gary, a youth training facility in nearby San Marcos, the two “strutting icons of Raza manhood worthy of a guitar ballad” are the novel’s principal voices as they lie dying.
In other chapters, Oscar remembers traveling north with his parents as a young boy to pick crops and joining farm workers’ protest marches. Songs of all types—symphonic, orchestral and protest—infuse the narrative: “We’ll summon the spirit of a poet so that he can adapt our people’s story through time and set it to music.” Elizondo’s short and tragic novel bears witness to la raza’s struggles for rights, whether in the fields, the work place or on college campuses.
Originally published in Spanish and now available for the first time in English, this classic of Mexican-American literature provides insight into the Chicano civil rights movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Muerte en una estrella / Shooting Star is a profoundly disturbing and moving denunciation of bigotry and discrimination.