Serafina’s Stories


Award-winning Chicano author Rudolfo Anaya sets the legend of Scheherezade against the background of Spanish-settled Santa Fe, just before the successful Pueblo insurgency of 1680. The Spanish governor is a recently widowed and lonely man who misses the warmth and comfort of the life he has left behind. The native Pueblo people are restive under Spanish government, whose strict religious authoritarianism is determined to exterminate their native religious beliefs. The Governor, hearing of plans for an uprising and knowing that action must be taken immediately, lest the small Spanish population be overwhelmed, quickly arrests and prepares to try twelve conspirators. He is surprised to discover, however, that one of the conspirators is a fifteen-year-old girl named Serafina who speaks excellent Spanish and was brought up in a mission church. He discovers that she is a storyteller who knows many of the cuentos, or traditional tales, and makes with her a bargain – she will tell him a story each evening, and if he likes her stories he will release one prisoner the next morning. In this way, eleven of Serafina’s fellow prisoners are released, until the Governor is faced with the decision of what to do about Serafina herself, whom he has come to regard as a daughter. The stories are traditional European tales, reset in the surroundings of the Southwest with native characters. They managed to educate the reader (and listener) of the problems facing the Pueblo people under Spanish rule while staying true to their origins and original meanings, and by the end of the twelve days and the twelve stories, both are changed. Well written and lyrically told, this novel is suitable for all readers.



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(US) $22.95

(US) 0826335691