Reading & Booksigning: A. Gabriel Meléndez, The Book of Archives
May 6, 2017
2 pm to 4 pm
Join author A. Gabriel Meléndez for a reading from his new book The Book of Archives and Other Stories from the Mora Valley, New Mexico.
The Book of Archives tells the story of New Mexico’s Mora Valley, located in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, through the ghosts of history it harbors: troubadours and soldiers, Plains Indians and settlers, families fleeing and finding home. There, more than a century ago, villagers collect scraps of paper documenting the valley’s history and their identity—military records, travelers’ diaries, newspaper articles, poetry, and more—and bind them into a leather portfolio known as “The Book of Archives.” When a bomb blast during the Mexican-American War scatters the book’s contents to the wind, the memory of the accounts lives on instead in the minds of Mora residents. Poets and storytellers pass down the valley’s traditions into the twentieth century, from one generation to the next.
Free public event
A. Gabriel Meléndez is a Professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico, the recently appointed Director of UNM’s Center for Regional Studies, and the author of several books, including Spanish-Language Newspapers in New Mexico, 1834–1958 and Hidden Chicano Cinema: Film Dramas in the Borderlands. A native of Mora with el don de la palabra, the divine gift of words, Meléndez mines historical sources and his own imagination to reconstruct the valley’s story, first in English and then in Spanish, stringing together humorous, tragic, and quotidian vignettes about historical events and unlikely occurrences to create a vivid portrait of Mora, both in cultural memory and in present reality.