The Red Camp
by Debra Diaz
Published: 30 Jun 1996
Bind: Trade Paperback
From barrios and labor camps spring life and inspiration. The Red Camp weaves a deeply humane and moving tapestry of coming of age and of the mundane and ugly transformed into the beauty of feminine self-discovery. Amid the poverty, exploitation and discrimination, families set down roots, send children to school and raise them to become better “Americans,” all in the hopes of providing a better life.
Evoking a location at the margins of both established society and our imagination, the Red Camp—once a labor camp, then a shanty town for migrant workers, and finally a barrio—is to Latino immigrants and laborers what New York tenements were to earlier generations.
Debra Diaz has poetically recreated for us the life of one family struggling under the red roof of its shanty. The women of the Cruz family spin mesmerizing tales of hope, life, and inspiration. They describe the exquisite tension of male-female relationships, the sweet discovery of love, the high expectations and bitter disillusionment that husbands, wives, parents and children bear for each other, and the difficulties of life among a group of people caught between two cultures.
In this richly textured and enchanting narrative, the voices of the Cruz family join in chorus to remember their trials and triumphs in the Red Camp. Hear the passionate music of an anniversary waltz, the haunting tale of a lost soul who murders her children and the call to a better life which in the end may not be as good as the family life shared in the Red Camp.
“A slender first novel… expertly fashioned and filled with lovely, emotionally charged moments. An admirable debut performance.” —Kirkus Reviews
Los Angeles CA
A citrus workers’ camp and the adjoining barrio were home for Debbie Diaz during the first seven years of her life. Born in Whittier, California, the third of five daughters, Diaz lived in La Habra, a small city in Northeast Orange County, until she was seventeen.
On a scholarship, Diaz attended the University of California, San Diego, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications/Visual Arts in 1979. She pursued post-graduate studies in the Master of Fine Arts program at the Motion Picture/Television Division of the University of California, Los Angeles.
While Diaz has written numerous short stories for approximately eight years, her first novel, The Red Camp (Arte Público Press, 1996), is also her first published work.
She continues to live and work in Los Angeles.