The main character, Manuel, narrates how he resorted to brujeria—folk magic—to change his fate, or so he believes. The spell goes bad, reasons Manuel, when his mother’s life becomes endangered because he allowed her to become involved in brujeria without her knowledge. Manuel’s story occurs in his small town, Vistahermosa, during autumn, around the time of the Day of the Dead (El Dia de los Muertos). The spirit of this Mexican national holiday serves as an appropriate backdrop for a novel concerned with the many faces of death, such as the death of childhood, the coming of age, and even the demise of agrarian society, and with it, the slow death of tradition, not to mention human physical death, which also figures prominently in the story.
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