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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Three Tamales for the Señor and Other Stories by James Tipton is a collection of the late author and former literature and writing professor's work. Tipton zeroes in on his retirement in Mexico as the inspiration for each of the seventeen pieces in this anthology, all of which read independently and vary in their length but share a common thread that provides a feeling of community among characters that share no other real connection. A story called Bienvenidos a San Blas stands out a bit as it revolves around a retired American professor who jumps between reflections of his past and the current touring of vacationing gringas. Another named Refugio de María is about a young dwarf in a small village, whose grit and smarts appear to be gigantic in comparison to his body.
Three Tamales for the Señor and Other Stories is an absolutely wonderful grouping of James Tipton's work. The quality of writing is of the highest degree and it's clear that as much as Tipton's creative imagination fuels his plots and characters, the landscape within has been shaped by a life that was embraced with all he had. I loved some of the ambiguous endings and found the most pleasure in the story Gute Nacht, Señora, which also finds its footing in the village of Refugio de María as a heroine named Katrina finds herself torn between two cultures, two languages, and two homes. I enjoyed each and every story in this anthology and have no doubt other readers will feel the same.