Early in Canales’ collection, the young narrator gives her beloved grandmother the perfect Christmas present; she gives her the gift of the world. Through her descriptions, we see that world as she sees it, through the eyes of a child that is slowly moving into adolescence. In this twilight world, the author offers a shimmering picture of a family confronted with the issues that divide lives and love.
In this collection of coming of age stories, Canales introduces the reader to the cultural traditions and activities of a community: homage to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the celebration of the day of the Three Magi, a carousel of unique saints, and a flock of very special pink plastic flamingoes. And through it all, with the passage of time the narrator discovers changes within herself and the community around her.
Canales’ robust tales inhabit the mysterious and secret land that lies between the United States and Mexico, between child and adulthood, reality and the imagination, and between life and death. These haunting stories not only reveal, layer by layer, the fantastic in the ordinary, but, most importantly, the powerful and healing magic inside all of us. Long after the tales are finished, the reader will be left with the taste of orange candy slices.