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About the Book
“Llorona was no harmless little pigeon. She was the lechuza, the owl you see just before someone is about to die, the one that haunts you in your dreams and you never want to see in real life because it means you are about to lose someone you love.”
Llorona is the only girl Güero has ever loved. A wounded soul, she has adopted the name of a ghost from Mexican folklore. True to her namesake, Llorona cast Güero away with the coldness of the apparition she has become. But Güero—though he would never admit it to his friends—still wants to get back together with her.
Güero spends time with his friends Ángel and Smiley—members of the HCP (Hispanics Causing Panic) gang—roaming the streets of the South Texas border towns they inhabit, trying to forget Llorona even as she seems to appear around every corner.
Over three days Güero’s increasingly violent confrontations with Llorona’s current boyfriend will jeopardize the lives of Ángel and Smiley and the love he hopes to regain.
As events begin to accelerate toward their conclusion—and gang signs are thrown as both threats and claims of identity—the question arises: will Güero throw the HCP sign, or will he throw off that life? Güero’s life will be irrevocably changed by violence and loss, but who will he lose, and will he—somewhere along the way—lose himself?
About the Author
Texas native Rubén Degollado’s debut novel invites readers into a cultural context unfamiliar to many and yet the coming-of-age story it recounts is timeless and universal. His fiction has appeared in Image, Beloit Fiction Journal, Bilingual Review/Revista Bilingüe, Gulf Coast, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Relief and the anthologies Bearing the Mystery, Fantasmas, Juventud, and Texas Short Stories. He has worked in both public and private schools in Texas, Oregon, and Florida as a teacher, principal, and district administrator. Rubén now works as an educational consultant, coaching leaders and providing professional development to improve outcomes for students. He lives in Texas with his wife Julie and their three children.
What Others are Saying
“I have waited, literally, a decade or more to see this book in print. Here it is…I am not alone any more. Degollado has done what only a handful in my beautiful Río Grande Valley of South Texas have done: captured it in its full glory and grit to share it with the world: among them, Américo Paredes, Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, Narciso Martínez, Freddy Fender, and Genaro González. Now, Rubén Degollado.”
—Dr. René Saldaña, author and professor, Texas Tech University
“There are books written with the mind and books written with the heart. Throw by Rubén Degollado is written with both. It’s not just that you see a familiar reality presented intensely, accurately, la pura verdad, the way you know it really is. It is also that you see it, finally, the way it should be seen, the way it should be understood and loved, by all.”
—Francisco X. Stork, author of Disappeared