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The Astral Plane
Stories of Cuba, the Southwest and Beyond
Teresa Dovalpage

University of New Orleans Press
March 2012 / ISBN: 1608010767
Latin American literature

Reviewed by Willie Elliott

Teresa Dovalpage's The Astral Plane is a collection of eight stories that have instances where the same characters appear in different stories, but the stories can be read alone without affecting the quality of any individual story.

The stories offer a look into the lives of people who live under the influence of the rule of Fidel Castro. Even in the happiest of moments, it seems the characters are looking to the United States as the place that will take them out of their drudgery. But what makes the characters so likable is the way they deal with the world they have been handed and how they cope with it in a humorous and entertaining way.

The reader will be captivated by the character in the title story (The Astral Plane) with his leadership of the Brotherhood and his knack for predicting the future.

All the characters are people who need a break in life and for that reason readers will like them-they are not villains-just everyday people looking for a break and in the meantime taking all the fun and enjoyment from life as it exists at the moment. Just a list of some of the characters will entice the reader to see what is going on: a false prophet, a calculating serial killer, a conniving prostitute and a scheming mother-in-law. This is a very fast and enjoyable read.

Reviewed 2012