Rudolfo Anaya
Rudolfo Anaya taught at UNM until 1993.

In his new book, “The Sorrows of Young Alfonso,” due out in April, University of New Mexico Professor Emeritus Rudolfo Anaya reflects on the truths and mysteries of the human condition.

Considered by many to be a leader in contemporary Chicano literature, Anaya completed his B.A. and two Master’s degrees at UNM before becoming a professor of English at the University. He taught at UNM until 1993 and still contributes to the campus community in many ways, including through his support of an annual lecture series on literature of the Southwest.

Anaya founded UNM’s distinguished Creative Writing Program and has his papers held at UNM’s Center for Southwest Research.

From the Publisher:

“The world is full of sorrow,” Agapita whispered to Alfonso.

The Sorrows of Young Alfonso

Did she stamp those words into his destiny?

The story of Alfonso, a Nuevo Mexicano, begins with his birth, when the curandera Agapita delivers these haunting words into his infant ear. What then unfolds is an elegiac song to the llanos of New Mexico where Alfonso comes of age. As this exquisite novel charts Alfonso’s life journey from childhood through his education and evolution as a writer, renowned Chicano author Rudolfo Anaya invites readers to reflect on the truths and mysteries of the human condition.

In describing these events, the “old man” writing the letters interweaves Alfonso’s experiences with fragments of his own life and of the New Mexican llano that both men have called home. The trajectory of Alfonso’s life in turn mirrors the history of New Mexico and the turbulent beginnings of the Chicano movement in which the young protagonist plays a trailblazing role.

As story builds upon story, the commonality of traits among the narrator, his subject, and perhaps Anaya himself appears more than coincidental. Permeated by Anaya’s trademark religious and mythological imagery, The Sorrows of Young Alfonso is a luminous meditation on memory, reality, and the human experience.