Chupacabra Meets Billy the Kid (University of Oklahoma Press) is the third installment in Rudolfo Anaya’s ChupaCabra series, following up on 2006’s Curse of the ChupaCabra and ChupaCabra and the Roswell UFO from 2008.
The stalwart protagonist of the series, Rosa Medina, this time finds herself leaving the gangs and street violence of East Los Angeles for a very different reality in tiny Puerto de Luna in New Mexico. Rosa is there to research a book on Bilito, AKA Billy the Kid so she expects the backdrop will be different from what she’s used to, but she doesn’t suspect how different until she is transported back in time to 1879 where she’s going to get a chance to hang with Bilito himself.
Anaya is considered to be one of the founders of contemporary Chicano literature. Now 80, he is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of New Mexico and the award-winning author of more than 40 books, among them works or fiction, non-fiction as well as books for children, of which Chupacabra Meets Billy the Kid is considered to be one. With that out of the way, don’t worry who it was intended for. This is lyrical magical realism with a historical bent: good stuff, whoever the intended audience.
Anaya is a master storyteller who delivers a darkly twisty tale against a backdrop filled with magical, historical and modern high tech details. It’s a wonderfully imaginative story, beautifully rendered. ◊