A review of
by Oscar Casares
Taking amusement, even inspiration, in the stubbornness of the elderly is predicated on a rather dark notion. Old person, you are on your way out. There’s no point arguing against your notions, our laughter would say if it had to explain itself, because at your age, notions are not worth changing.
This fatalism is not lost on the two estranged brothers in Amigoland—stubbornness is the moon that carves the tides. It drives the aging Rosales brothers apart, where a sense of fusty fatalism keeps them. Both live in Brownsville, a Texan town on the Mexican border (and the eponymous setting for Casares’s charismatic 2003 story collection). But they haven’t spoken in ten years. The younger Don Celestino, recently widowed, scratches chores over the confines of his calendar lines. His ninety-one-year-old brother, Don Fidencio, has been committed to Amigoland nursing home, where, life being served to him, his memory starts to slip. He engages himself mainly by policing the punctuality of the meal and medicine carts.
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