by Dick Cluster
“If baseball is really a metaphor for life, then Kill the Ámpaya -- Dick Cluster's wonderful collection of Latin American baseball stories -- is an astonishing record of its beauty and coarseness, redemption and tragedy. You don't have to be a baseball fan to appreciate these stories, each one hinged on baseball directly or indirectly, and delight in this reading.”—Achy Obejas, author of The Tower of Antilles and Other Stories
"These are stories we have lived. . . Some are funny, some cruel or violent, but in the end they are part of our culture that makes us act the way we do. They make me think of the millions of stories that got lost behind us." —Omar Vizquel, from Venezuela, one of baseball's all-time best fielding shortstops who played for the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, and Toronto Blue Jays.
"Baseball is in the soul of millions in Puerto Rico and the other countries that play the game with a Latino flair. These stories are portraits of its place in our lives." —Benjie Molina, former Texas Rangers catcher and first base coach.
A rich variety of baseball fiction exists south of the Florida Straits and the Rio Grande, but almost none available in English. This collection translates for the first time stories ranging from the highly literary to the vernacular. These inventive and entertaining stories reveal the place of baseball in Latin America. Mixing fan and fandom, baseball and politics, rural and urban life, sexism and poverty, Kill the Ampaya! reveals how baseball shapes the social fabric of everyday Latin American life.
The collection includes well known writers such as Leonardo Padura from Cuba (The Man Who Loved Dogs), Sergio Ramírez from Nicaragua (Divine Punishment, A Thousand Deaths Plus One). Others are well known writers in their home countries such as Arturo Arango and Eduardo del Llano in Cuba, Alexis Gómez Rosa and José Bobadilla in the Dominican Republic, Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro in Puerto Rico, Vicente Leñero in Mexico as well as emerging literary figures such as Salvador Fleján and Rodrigo Blanco Calderón in Venezuela, Sandra Tavarez and Daniel Reyes Germán in the D.R., Carmen Hernández Peña in Cuba.