For the reader who has wondered about the origins and reasons for the open sensuality so alive in the Latino character, Teresa Dovalpage’s collection of short stories, The Astral Plane, Stories of Cuba, the Southwest and Beyond (UNO Press, 2012), offers an insightful look into the basis of those emotions… and beyond.  The book gives the readers an opportunity to experience multiple realities as the tales gleefully satisfy the universal desire to delve into unknown worlds and intense emotions.

Teresa Dovalpage has conquered a new height in her prolific writing career.  She has achieved a happy mixture of the sexy essence of the Latino character and a torrent of heightened spirituality that takes for granted the coexistence of the mundane with the sublime.  She has created a place where cultures, traditions, and folklores weave themselves to manifest the impossible—as seen from our material existence—and fit it into possibility through that deep recognition alive in our collective consciousness.

Seven is said to be a magical number, so it is fitting that there are seven stories in this work.  Within this collection of sensual and spiritual happenings is a skilled composition, a mosaic that will mystify and fascinate page by page, story after story.  The reader will feast on one tasty dish after the other, and the blend of aromas and flavors will remain for a long time to come.

The element of surprise lives throughout, as a happy ghost inhabiting a mansion of many rooms, decorated in a variety of styles and moods.  This mansion is that astral plane, a journey into diverse, yet interrelated planes of magic, realism, passion, and the eternal quest for deep understanding.

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Review by Teresa Bevin

Teresa Bevin is the author of the novels Havana Split and Papaya Suite, a bilingual collection of short stories entitled Dreams and Other Ailments / Sueños y otros achaques.  She has published the bilingual children’s novel Tina Springs into Summer / Tina se lanza al verano, and is a contributor to several college level books on multiculturalism, mental health and family therapy.