Third Place - Veronica Gonzalez

The Sad Passions

ìThe Sad Passions juxtaposes a compelling interplay between three generations of women, the grandmotherís roots in Mexico and the granddaughtersí lives in Los Angeles.  The central theme explores a womanís freedom.  It was the Mexican grandmother who made a dash for freedom from a restrictive marriage.  What of this inheritance will be passed on to the granddaughters?

Carmela, a Chicana in search of self and freedom, lives in two cultures.  It is precisely this ability to move between worlds that makes Carmela an interesting character.  In many ways she symbolizes contemporary Chicanas.  The cultures she moves in are more complex than just Mexican and/or American.  She struggles to write a movie in a world where few of her kind are accepted.

But Carmela is haunted by stories of the past, stories from Mexico.  To be complete she needs to know the live of her parents and grandparents.  It is in the lives of the women of her family that she will find a sense of self.  The memory of Mexico lingers throughout the novel.  It is that memory, a living force in the novel, that finally draws Carmela back to Mexico.

The relationship in The Sad Passions are rich and complex, finely drawn.  Mothers and daughters experience the sad passions of life.  They experience sexuality and how each person comes to terms with that driving force.  Carmelaís story becomes a contemporary Book of Passions.

It is the passions of the characters that lifts the novel above the mundane search for self into an exploration of the deep seat of feelings within self.î

- Rudolfo Anaya (25th Anniversary Prize Judge).