Read Dreams of the Centaur by Montserrat Fontes Online


"Dreams of the Centaur" brings to light for the first time in fiction the tragic enslavement of the Yaqui Indians by Porfirio Diaz's regime at the turn of the last century. Through the lives of the Ducals--a Mexican family who has created a ranch out of the desert--this "Western saga brimming with the heart and soul of Mexico . . . is an extraordinarily rich novel" ("West"Dreams of the Centaur" brings to light for the first time in fiction the tragic enslavement of the Yaqui Indians by Porfirio Diaz's regime at the turn of the last century. Through the lives of the Ducals--a Mexican family who has created a ranch out of the desert--this "Western saga brimming with the heart and soul of Mexico . . . is an extraordinarily rich novel" ("West Coast Review of Books")....

Title : Dreams of the Centaur
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780393316056
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 349 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Dreams of the Centaur Reviews

  • Leigh McDonald
    2019-05-15 13:02

    This book was a beautiful, often heartbreaking and astounding journey through a place and time--Sonora, Mexico in the late 1800s. It's raw and tough and quiet and haunting. I learned a lot of incredible history, and I have mental images I don't think I'll ever shake. It's easy reading in the sense that the language and characters keep you interested and flowing through the story, but subject-matter-wise it's definitely no walk in the park. Still, utterly worth it. I came across it by chance, and I'm very glad I did.

  • Judi
    2019-05-13 15:03

    DREAMS OF THE CENTAUR takes place at the turn of the 20th century, when Mexican President Porfirio Díaz was responsible for the deportation, enslavement, and slaughter of thousands of Yaquis Indians. Similar to Isabel Allende's THE HOUSE OF SPIRTIS, the epic family story is integrated with the history and politics of the times. In this novel, the events of the Durcal family is told through the voices of Felipa and her oldest son Alejo Durcal.Long ago, wealthy hacendados had claimed the best land, José Durcal took what was left and labored eight years "burning the tenacious chaparral, breaking the sunbaked land, digging wells and irrigation ditches, planting oranges, wheat, alfalfa and hay." At first he works alone, later he hires Yaquis to live on his land and work for him. When he travels to Alamos, he eyes Felipa at her Aunt's mill. When he asks her to marry him, she is surprised that such a successful man would ask her, but Tía Mercedes points out that since José has no family history it is natural that he should also choose to start "his family with someone as new as the land he had claimed." José continues to dream that someday his three sons will be known as respected land owners.It is another seven years before José travels to Guaymas to purchase animals, tools and furniture, raising the stature of his ranch. Ironically, the biggest obstacle preventing José from his shopping trip is a Yaquis called Cajeme. Although, José applauds Cajeme's efforts to thwart the Mexican troops, he also knows that being Mexican, he is a target. When he finally sets off for Guaymas, he goes with his long time friend, the son of one of the wealthy mining families, Estaban Escobar.They are gone six months and return with many wonders, but the center of attention is Estaban's two year old Black Stallion that he calls El Moro. Apparently, José is the one that found the horse, but being richer, Estaban outbids him. This strains the relationship to the point that José decides to win back El Moro in a poker game. After winning El Moro, José begins an ill conceived plan to quickly increase the size of his ranch by continuing to gamble, until one evening he goes too far and is killed on Estaban's land. Estaban claims it is an accident, José's sons believe, and all physical evidence points to murder, but the law sides with the wealthy family. Young, angry and out of family honor, Alejo, José's oldest son, now seeks revenge, despite Felipa's will to prevent this.The heart of this story is about injustice and explores it from every possible angle, especially the ease in which one moves from a just position to the humiliator. At one point Alejo says, "My instinct tells me that if we can imagine a worse place, we'll make sure someone ends up there. That must be how those evil places get started. That's how Yaquis got chained--someone thought of a worse situation than his own, then he created it." How quickly the dreams of one becomes the nightmares of another as we realize that the centaurs in this novel are herding humans like bulls.Though the message is as harsh as the history it portrays, the novel itself is a well paced, entrancing read. Fontes talent is to make the Durcal family as real as the lands that they occupy.

  • Chrisl
    2019-04-25 11:09

    "Eye-Opening" ... looking back on Northern Mexico, just 100 years ago ... making slaves of the Yaqui, (Apache cousins) and shipping them to the jungle plantations of Southern Mexico. From one of the most respected librarians review magazinesKIRKUS REVIEW� Fontes returns to the Durcal family, introduced in her 1990 debut, First Confession. This prequel to the earlier work, which was set in the 1940s, takes place in the northern Mexico state of Sonora from the mid-1880s to the turn of the century, tracing the story of the founder of the family line, JosÇ Durcal--called El Centauro for his strength of character and body--and his equally determined wife, Felipa. Felipa gives him three sons, the oldest of whom, Alejo, will go on to enjoy a special bond with his mother. When JosÇ is killed by a jealous, politically connected friend, Alejo avenges his father's death with disastrous results, including a stretch in the subhuman conditions of a provincial prison, an equally punishing but brief stay in the army, and an involvement in unmasking the vicious trade in slaves by plantation owners in the Yucat†n. For background--and, often, foreground--Fontes uses the corrupt and racist regime of Porfirio D°az, which labored mightily to exterminate the Yaqui tribe. Alejo finds himself and his half brother enmeshed in an unsuccessful attempt to avert a huge massacre, an event that Fontes retells with breathtaking pace. Interwoven is the story of Alejo's love for his father's horse, Moro, a horse that almost no one else can ride. But in the novel's center is the relationship between Felipa and Alejo, and Fontes excels in exploring the complex emotional ties between these two. Alejo's travails in the army and after his desertion, told in the first person, drag a bit, Felipa's presence being sorely missed; but the final movement, reuniting son and mother under the most harrowing of circumstances, is satisfying entirely. Despite some longueurs, then: an effective, often exciting piece of storytelling with a powerful central female character.

  • Jozny Wolf
    2019-05-11 11:59


  • Kate
    2019-05-01 14:04

    A readalike for Hummingbird's Daughter? perhaps........

  • Christina
    2019-05-02 09:05

    I really enjoyed this book overall. Lots of drama, but really showed strong woman as characters.