We Were Raza. By Beto Conde. ISBN:13: 978-1981246335. $23.95
These stories are intended to paint local life as it was for many of us growing up in the barrios of South Texas and other border areas. Some dismiss this “barrio life” as unimportant or inconsequential because it wasn’t their experience growing up or because of their perception of it as being a negative experience. Delve into these stories and share an experience that is prevalent all over the southwest. Those who have lived it will relate, those who didn’t, I invite you to share it with us.
With these simple short stories, Beto Conde, a latecomer to the Chicano literature scene, delves deeply into the world he grew up in. In an non-apologetic tone for who he was and who he is, Conde reveals the everyday life he once knew and loves. Third, fourth generation Mexican Americans that have mainstreamed away from the past ways of their forefathers may not relate but should look at it as their history nevertheless.
As novelist Tomás Rivera noted, Conde’s stories are based on “remembering, retelling, and reliving.” Conde started writing not to forget and then evolved into sharing these stories.
Beto Conde is the product of two worlds, these short stories are about one of them.
Filiberto “Beto” Conde was born and raised in San Benito, Texas; earned a BA in Psychology from Pan American University Brownsvilleand co-founded the Narciso Martínez Cultural Arts Center Writer’s Forum, his work has appeared in anthologies by NMCAC, Valley Bi-liners, Valley International Poetry Festival, also on Mesquite Review, and the San Antonio Conjunto Festival program of 2004. In 2007, he read at the 25th Anniversary dedication of the Vietnam War Memorial Wall in DC. In 2011, he published America Down by the River, short stories about living in the two cultures of the Texas-Mexico border and thoughts about his Vietnam experience.