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NMSU professor to sign new book on both sides of the border

New Mexico State University's Center for Latin American and Border Studies will host a book signing for Spanish professor Ricardo Aguilar-Melantzon's new trilogy on border life from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4.

logy, "Que es un soplo la vida" (Life is But a Breath), will be reviewed and commented on by three NMSU graduate students. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing by the author.

A similar event and signing will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6, at the Centro Municipal de las Artes in Juarez, Mexico.

"There's been a lot written about the experiences of Chicanos and Mexican Americans, but so little about the other side -- about the Mexican experience along the border," Aguilar said. "This trilogy focuses on the Mexican experience with insights from somebody who really knows and understands it."

The trilogy includes the novel "Madreselvas en Flor," a short story collection titled "Aurelia" that examines the experiences of various individuals and families, and "A Barlovento," personal essays that reflect on life, death, love and the daily grind of Juarez. "Madreselvas en Flor," which examines the lives of fictitious Mexican residents in El Paso and Juarez as they grow up and live along the border, won Mexico's Jose Fuentes Mares national literature award in 1988.

"The trilogy offers a critical vision of border life from the immigrant's point of view," Aguilar said. "I wanted to hold a mirror toward the American side of the border so people there could see themselves reflected back from the Mexican side's perspective. It presents a fresh vision that tells the U.S. audience how people on the Mexican side feel about them."

The trilogy, released in Spanish in November, was published as a tripartite collaboration by Universidad de Tijuana, Universidad Veracruzana and Mexico City-based publisher Eon Ediciones y Graficos. English-language versions of "Madreselvas en Flor" and "A Barlovento" have been published by NMSU's Puerto del Sol, a journal of literature and fine art. "Aurelia" is currently being translated to English.

The Spanish version of the trilogy can be ordered by phone at (915) 240-5099 or by e-mail at CARLOSMSIERRA@hotmail.com. English versions of "Madreselvas en Flor" and "A Barlovento" can be ordered by phone at (505) 646-2345 or by e-mail at puerto@nmsu.edu.

Aguilar, who heads NMSU's Chicano Studies Institute, is internationally known for his creative writing and his research in Chicano literature. He was selected by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as the New Mexico Professor of the Year for 2003.

Both events are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided at the NMSU event and cocktails and a buffet will be available at the Juarez event.

The Center for Latin American and Border Studies is located on University Avenue directly across from Kinko's in Las Cruces.

For more information about the book signing at NMSU, call the Center for Latin American and Border Studies at (505) 646-6817. For more information about the Juarez book signing, call (915) 240-5099.