Local writer and master of Chicano noir Ito Romo was at Barnes & Noble at La Cantera on Saturday to do a book reading/signing of his most recent book “The Border is Burning.” It is a collection of thirteen short stories that take place along the border in cities like Laredo and San Antonio.
With his family in attendance, some of which were children, he had a hard time deciding which story to read since most are gritty and not intended for young audiences. He awkwardly settled on ‘Baby Money’ and as a way to get the audience involved he enlisted the help of a little girl to scream on cue. After the reading the story about the two headed baby in a jar of formaldehyde he answered questions from the audience and proceeded to sign copies of the book and take pictures.
“The Border is Burning” contains stories involving single men, families and parents. Most of them are dark and disheartening but they deal with the human condition. The situations that the characters go through are common place but the only difference is where they take place. There are a limited number of stories or books that take place along the border and for anyone who is familiar with the locations this is a refreshing take on literature.
Two of the stand outs are ‘Chicken Pot Pie’ and ‘Splinter in the Gut.” The details in these stories are so realistic they leave the reader cringing but unable to stop reading. Like the rest of the stories the ending is left open for interpretation and that can be either incredibly frustrating or liberating. Either way it’s an easy read but impossible to put down and recommended for anyone looking for some unconventional reading.