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Villarreal illuminates here the world of “pochos,” Americans whose parents come to the United States from Mexico. Set in Depression-era California, the novel focuses on Richard, a young pocho who experiences the intense conflict between loyalty to the traditions of his family’s past and attraction to new ideas. Richard’s struggle to achieve adulthood as a young man influenced by two worlds reveals both the uniqueness of the Mexican-American experiences and its common ties with the struggles of all Americans—whatever their past.