Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Author in the Grave

Victor Martinez, not quite 57, passed away about two weeks ago. I learned this today from a customer, a Mission District resident who was Martinez's neighbor. He had come to Green Apple to pick up Parrot in the Oven, his neighbor's sole (published) novel, the winner of The National Book Award in 1996, a required text in many US high schools, and a banned book in several others. I sold him a used mass market edition for three dollars and tax.

Martinez's life was characterized by struggles not unlike those faced by many immigrant families in California. He was the fourth of twelve children, guided in his earlier days toward a life of manual labor but veered off of that course due to an interest in the arts and a display of proficiency for writing. He became a poet, but of course neither quickly nor with ease, contending to discover his audience until his early forties.

And so, Victor Martinez, Green Apple offers a tip of the hat and a solemn nod of the head. Our local authors are always, always sorely mourned. Especially when the loss is of one who confronted a steep incline in the face of a strange class system to achieve position. Rest in peace.


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