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A Promise to Keep
A novel that Salvadoran author Mario Bencastro wrote with the collaboration
of students from a school in the United States has been published by Arte
The novelís title is A Promise to Keep, and it has been published in English
in 2005. The book tells the story of a child that came to the US
at the age of six and that, in the novel, he is already an adolescent that
faces a series of conflicts proper of his age and environment.
"Nevertheless," Bencastro points out, "this is not a young adult novel
for entertainment only, but one that also confronts the realities of the
young Latino population in the US".
The novel was written with the collaboration of students from Belmont High
School of Los Angeles, California, who participated actively proposing
themes and opinions for the novelís content.
Sergio is caught between two countries. He has lived in Los
Angeles since the age of six, when he emigrated from Central America with his parents. But in a country far
away from his birthplace and birthright, he finds himself coming of age without
any sense of a "homeland."
has spent many years under the strong, guiding influence of his grandfather,
who lived with Sergio's family until his recent death. Before Abuelo dies, he exacts a tough promise from Sergio. After
years living in a land that is not his own, Abuelo
demands to be buried in his own native soil. Sergio's struggle to honor his
mentor takes him on a dangerous mission, fraught with unexpected disasters.
voyage of self-discovery and cultural exploration requires him to take control. He encounters unexpected triumphs and
discoveries that will enrich the rest of his life.
to Keep explores critical questions of identity,
homeland, and culture, issues that are grounded in the reality of immigrant
teenagers who have been raised and educated in the United States. In this well-crafted
and sensitive narrative, acclaimed author Mario Bencastro
draws upon his own experiences working with immigrant teens to deftly examine
the pressing questions and problems facing these bicultural teens.
A Promise to Keep was translated to English from Spanish (Viaje a la tierra del abuelo)
by Susan Gierbach Rascón, a professor of Spanish at the University of
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who also translated Bencastroís previous books with
A Promise to Keep
Arte Público Press,
May 2005, Houston, USA.
Translated by Susan Giersbach Rascón.
ISBN-10: 1-55885-457-6. 126 pages.
Copyright © 1999 Mario Bencastro.