Valentin Sandoval‘s recent labor of love, South Sun Rises is a recipient of this year’s Southwest Book Award from the Border Regional Library Association (BRLA).
His bi-lingual poetic narrative was bred and conceptualized in the Chihuahua desert of the El Paso/Juarez border and finalized in one of the true breeding grounds of American experience, New York City, specifically, the Lower East Side, 2nd st. and Ave. B.
Valentin reminisces, “I wrote it spending time at the NuYorican Poets Cafe with the owner Miguel Algarin, the first Puerto Rican PhD to teach at Rutgers, and also support from Tony Spiller. They really liked the idea of me writing about my family first in context of some material we looked at.”
Algarin and Spiller are both American Book Award Winners. South Sun Rises speaks to to the melting pot of the 21st century and invites others into an intrapersonal dialogue. The poetic narrative is not just mere pulp and harshness to be exploited and make genre specific due to its cultural backdrop but an American immigrant story like the myriad that have founded and built America to seamlessly become Americana.
“It’s a hero story set in El Paso / Juarez like a modern Ellis Island,” Sandoval adds. Valentin’s muse and own personal heart of darkness to pen the visual anchor points of his novel was an ongoing inward meditation of love in search of his father who he never met and the respect and growth of his single mother.
The story of an absent father and single mother could play out in many scenarios across America and the world but delivered here in a way that strikes at the empathy of a first generation hyper connected planet becoming increasingly stirred in terms of ethnic identity.