La Dolce Vita on the Northern Side. By Marc Zimmerman ISBN-13: 9781730956232. $18.95.

6" x 9" Black & White on Cream paper 150 pages


Latino Jewish Fiction, Hispanic literature, Sephardic literature, Latino--Social life and customs--Fiction, Mexico Social life Fiction, U.S.-Mexico border--Social life--Fiction


In this final book of his Border Trilogy, Marc Zimmerman shows his protagonist Ben exploring his city as he seeks connections in the midst of growing civil rights and anti-war struggles. Ben’s first worlds are Jewish-, Italian-, and then Afro-American before they become ever more Mexican, Latino/a, and Latin American as he visits theaters, concert and lecture halls, community centers, jazz and dance, happy hour, night and after-hour clubs, the piano bars, the pickup spots and picket lines, the bar,, house and other party sites—all the settings which he and others can enjoy on and off stage, as they live the “sweet life” of their time. A marriage and Black theater projects fail; a jazzman, a woman-chaser and a father-abused girl try to break free; a lost Chicano poet forgets his professor; a second marriage begins to flounder. Parties and encounters all make for a sad “dolce vita” as Ben explores alternative border sites and lives out his young adult years until he leaves the space which has “spread its bright light on him.” Readers may follow Ben discovering more than one side of “el otro lado”—and finding that the U.S. urb north of the border itself, late to a decade’s fires, now throbs with life and is set to ignite as a new era begins.

A distinguished critic and scholar, Zimmerman demonstrates his notable gifts as a writer of fictional memoir keenly sensitive to the vital socio-cultural nuances and ethno-communal borders his stories cross, explore, and illuminate. This fine collection projects a journey of personal changes occurring to many during and beyond a crucial time and place in the U.S. and wider world. An impressive achievement—and great read! Roberto Márquez, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor Emeritus of Latin American & Caribbean Studies, Mount Holyoke College. Author and editor of some forty books, Marc Zimmerman is U. of Illinois at Chicago and U. of Houston Emeritus Professor of Latin American, Latino and World Cultures & Literatures. This is his seventh volume of “memoir fiction,” including the prior volumes of his Border trilogy, Lines on the Border and Sandino on the Border (Floricanto 2017-18).