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IN BRIEF

Fiction

September 01, 1996|Erika Taylor

CALLE 10 by Danny Romero (Mercury House: $12.95, 168 pp.) Zero is a youngish Chicano living on Calle 10, or 10th Street, across the bay from San Francisco. His life is not particularly unusual. Zero has a dead-end job, a condescending boss and drug- and alcohol-addicted friends, one of whom owns the rodent-infested house where he lives. "Calle 10," Danny Romero's first novel, reads as if someone followed Zero around with a camera, pausing once in a while to ask him for an opinion or insight. A novel like this is very hard to pull off because, without a traditional plot, it relies almost completely on characterization and style to keep the reader turning pages. Romero accomplishes this with ease.

One of the main conflicts of "Calle 10" is what direction the rest of Zero's life will take. Romero puts him on a fence and leaves him there so we can never be sure what will happen to this complicated protagonist. "Calle 10" is a strong novel from a writer of obvious talent.

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