Between Pathos and Wry Comedy

Daniel A. Olivas publishes Assumption and Other Stories

Published on LatinoLA: August 10, 2003

Between Pathos and Wry Comedy

Assumption and Other Stories (Bilingual Press, July 2003) by Daniel A. Olivas
is a collection of 18 short stories that revolve around Latinos in Southern California.

The characters are so varied, that they defy easy stereotypes: converted Jews, lesbians, lawyers, newscasters, Catholic schoolchildren ? just to name a few. In the suspenseful ?Summertime,? the parents of nine-year-old Jonathan Cohen-Ram?rez are confronted with their greatest fears when a deranged white supremacist opens fire on people at the Jewish children?s day camp that Jonathan attends.

?Weatherman? tells the amusing tale of Jos? Castro, a Los Angeles media personality who builds his fame by using the correct Spanish pronunciation of California city names during weather broadcasts. When a ruthless competitor attempts to beat Castro at his own game, the results are startling?and hilarious.

Shifting effortlessly between pathos and wry comedy, Olivas is able through his character-driven stories to explore how a married couple deals with infertility, how a lawyer reconciles her lesbian sexuality with the expectations of her traditional-minded parents, and how the students of a Catholic grammar school come to terms with the suicide of a popular young priest amid swirling rumors of his sexual improprieties.

?These stories are filled with such gusto and skill that they left me wanting more. Daniel Olivas charges the page with a Mexican American sensibility that is refined and earthy, a rare combination of intelligence and coraz?n. He joins the front ranks of our writers," says Stephen D. Guti?rrez, author of Chato?s Day (2003)

?Daniel Olivas asks us to walk with the outcast, the dispossessed, the hopelessly ?other? among us. These empathetic vignettes and stories show us people we know, if we are not these people ourselves," says Kathleen Alcal?, author of Treasures in Heaven (2000)

Olivas is the author of The Courtship of Mar?a Rivera Pe?a (Silver Lake Publishing, 2000). His second collection, Devil Talk: Stories, has just been accepted by Bilingual Press. His stories and poems have appeared in many publications including the Los Angeles Times, The MacGuffin, Exquisite Corpse, THEMA, The Pacific Review, and Web del Sol. His first children?s book, Benjamin and the Word, will be published next year by the University of Houston?s Arte P?blico Press.

He received his BA in English literature from Stanford University and law degree from the University of California at Los Angeles. The author practices law with the California Department of Justice specializing in land use and environmental enforcement. He makes his home with his wife and son in the San Fernando Valley. Web page: http://www.danielolivas.com.

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