Watercolor Women / Opaque Men

Trade Paper – $15.00

ISBN 978-1-931896-20-7
Publication Date
September 2005
Page Count
160 pages
Trim Size
5.4 x 8.4

Watercolor Women / Opaque Men

A Novel in Verse
Ana Castillo

2006 Independent Publisher Book Award for Story Teller of the Year Winner

Watercolor Women / Opaque Men is a wild and raucous narrative of a single, working mother, the daughter of Chicano migrant workers, and her struggles for upward mobility. With a remarkable combination of tenderness, wicked humor, and biting satire, the main character, Ella—or "She"—moves toward establishing her sexual identity (she has affairs with both men and women) and finding her rightful place in the world while simultaneously raising her son to be independent and self-sufficient.

Reminiscent of the picaresque novel, Watercolor Women / Opaque Men contains episodes that range from the Mexican Revolution to modern-day Chicago and reflects a deep pride in Chicano culture and the hardships immigrants had to endure: "In my familia we don't / pretend. / We're not / Mixed blood. There are no buried / Spanish titles beneath /anyone's tombstone." Nor does Castillo tolerate the pretensions of others. Pomposity, arrogance, and narrow-mindedness are the targets of her satiric pen.

In a strong rhythmic and colloquial voice, Castillo explores these issues of love, sexual orientation, and cultural identity, taking to heart the words of Mama Grande: "You will always be your most reliable resource."

About the Author

Ana Castillo is a Chicana novelist, poet, short story writer, essayist, editor, playwright, translator and independent scholar. Indisputably one of the most important Chicana authors writing today, her critically acclaimed works include Peel My Love like an OnionSo Far from God, and The Guardians. Born in Chicago to working-class parents, she went on to earn a PhD in American studies at the University of Chicago. Both as a journalist and literary author, she has been a major force in the struggle for economic justice, women's rights, and civil liberties. She has also won numerous awards, including the American Book Award, the Carl Sandburg Award, and the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award.

"The triplets seem to roll into each other, creating a sense of motion. Both visionary and real—this is truly an epic." —New Mexico Magazine

"These characters are so much more than victims: they paint, they write, they tell stories, they fight back, they have adventures, and in the end they laugh, triumphantly." —Martín Espada, author of Alabanza: New and Selected Poems

"Although Watercolor Women, Opaque Men is angry, it is, more importantly, instructive and enlightening: anyone wishing to gain insight into what it means to be a minority in America will learn much from reading this novel." —Salem Press