December 18, 1992 at 05:00 AM EST

Days of Obligation: An Argument With My Mexican Father

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Richard Rodriguez
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The United States is Protestant, individualist, optimist, and exhausting. Mexico is Catholic, communal, pessimist, and consoling. To Richard Rodriguez, the California-grown child of Mexican immigrant parents, these are home truths, learned at his father’s knee. As in his previous memoir, Hunger of Memory (1982), the restless double perspective leads him to attack shibboleths and discover paradoxes. In Days of Obligation: An Argument with my Mexican Father, he explores Mexico City, Tijuana, L.A. style, San Francisco gay life, and other West Coast obsessions. A regular on The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, Rodriguez is a master of telling sound bites and startling visuals. Playing his father’s inherited wisdom against his own self-created brilliance, he has written a set of essays with the weight and charm of a novel. A

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