National Endowment for the Arts - The Big Read
Sun, Stone, and Shadows

Sun, Stone, and Shadows

by Jorge F. Hernández

The temples and gods of pre-Columbian Mexico are a pile of ruins, but the spirit that breathed life into that world has not disappeared… Being a Mexican writer means listening to the voice of that present, that presence.


Temple of El Castillo in Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico (Copyright Mark Segal/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Excerpts from Silvestre Revueltas's String Quartet No. 2 ("Magueyes"), Allegro giocoso, String Quartet No. 3, Misterio y fantástico, and String Quartet No. 4, ("Música de fería"), performed by the Cuarteto Latinoamericano from the album The String Quartets (1994), used courtesy of New Albion Records. Used by permission of Southern Music Pub. Company (ASCAP).

Excerpts from "Babel," "Fe," and "El Firmamento," composed by Rodrigo Sigal from the album Manifesto (1998), and used courtesy of Rodrigo Sigal and CIEM (CIEM001). Piano by Duane Cochran.

Excerpts from original guitar music composed by and used courtesy of Jorge F. Hernández.

"My Life with the Wave" was used courtesy of Marie José Paz. The story was translated from Spanish by Eliot Weinberger and this translation was used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Tony Plana's reading of "My Life with the Wave" was originally included in the series Short Stories from Modern Mexico. The recording was used with permission of KCRW-Santa Monica (89.9 FM) and actor Tony Plana.

"Chac-Mool," copyright 1954, by Carlos Fuentes. Used by permission of Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc. Any copying or distribution of the material is expressly forbidden. All rights reserved.

Margaret Sayers Peden translated "Chac-Mool" from Spanish and it was first published in the book Burnt Water by Carlos Fuentes, under the imprint Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1980. This translation was used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Author biographies by Jorge F. Hernández.

Both stories can be found in the anthology: Sun, Stone and Shadows: 20 Great Mexican Short Stories, published by Fondo de Cultura Económica especially for The Big Read.

Written and produced by Cecilia Vaisman for the National Endowment for the Arts, 2008. Executive Producer: Adam Kampe.

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