Rain of Gold is a true-life saga of love, family and destiny that pulses with bold vitality, sweeping from the war-ravaged Mexican mountains of Pancho Villa’s revolution to the days of Prohibition in California.
It all began when Villaseñor’s maternal grandmother sat him down in their little home in the barrio of Carlsbad, California, gave him sweet bread and told him the story of their past. Of his mother Lupe, the most beautiful girl in the whole village, who was only a child when Villa’s men came shooting into their canyon. And of his father Juan and his family, reduced to rags and starvation as they sought refuge across the border, where they believed that endless opportunity awaited.
Lupe and Juan met and fell in love in California, but they found that the doors to the Promised Land were often closed to those from south of the border. His father was forced to take the law into his own hands, in spite of his wife’s objections. With humor and warmth, Villaseñor shares this passionate love story that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit.
“Villaseñor is a born storyteller, and this Latino Roots…is a gripping inspirational epic full of wild adventure, bootlegging, young love, miracles, tragedies, murder and triumph over cultural barriers.”—Publishers Weekly
“A grand and vivid history. [Villaseñor’s] characters are keenly drawn. Often I felt like a family member quietly watching from a corner stool.”—The New York Times Book Review
“The brisk, down-to-earth prose sweeps the reader through often fantastical events in a compelling narrative. This is a big book, but one that moves swiftly. It is a story that deserves to be told, bringing to life a cultural heritage of all Americans.”—The Washington Post Book World
“From beginning to end, the chronicle is filled with one remarkable story after another. All have the simple warmhearted quality of family tales told around the kitchen table, yet all are eminently believable. An inspiring, fast-paced tale with a simple, fable-like quality that’s often surprisingly moving.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Rain of Gold is a soul-stirring work, but it also provides the broad historical background and understanding of the genesis of modern Mexico and the historical experience that generations of Mexican immigrants have brought to the United States. A great merit of this highly engaging and readable book is the humanization of this immigrant experience.”—Journal of American Ethnic History
VICTOR VILLASEÑOR is a writer whose works have brought Mexican-American culture and literature to a wide audience. The Los Angeles Times compared his first novel, Macho! (Arte Público Press, 1973, 2003), to the best work of John Steinbeck. He is the author of the highly acclaimed best-sellers Burro Genius: A Memoir (Rayo, 2004); Rain of Gold (Arte Público Press, 1991), which details the saga of his family’s immigration to the U.S. from Mexico; and Thirteen Senses: A Memoir (Rayo, 2002). His other non-fiction works include Wild Steps of Heaven (Delta Books, 1995), Jury: The People vs. Juan Corona (Little Brown and Company, 1976), and the screenplay for the award-winning film, The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez. He has written several books for children based on indigenous tales told to him by his parents and grandparents, including Goodnight, Papito Dios / Buenas noches, Papito Dios (Piñata Books, 2007),The Stranger and the Red Rooster / El forastero y el gallo rojo (2006), Little Crow to the Rescue / El Cuervito al rescate (2005), The Frog and His Friends Save Humanity / La rana y sus amigos salvan a la humanidad (2005) and Mother Fox and Don Coyote / Mamá Zorra y Don Coyote (Piñata Books, 2004). Walking Stars (Piñata Books, 1992, 2003), his empowering collection of stories for young adults, is also available in Spanish as Estrellas peregrinas (Piñata Books, 2005). Villaseñor also wrote his memoir, Crazy Loco Love (Arte Público Press, 2008), a powerful portrait of a young boy on the path to manhood in the shadow of his influential father.
Villaseñor lives in Oceanside, California, where he continues to write.
Learn more at victorvillasenor.com.
ATOS Interest Level: Upper Grades