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A New Life in San Miguel

Author: Tony Cohan

When Los Angeles novelist Cohan and his artist wife, Masako, visited central Mexico one winter they fell under the spell of a place where the pace of life is leisurely, the cobblestone streets and sun-splashed plazas are enchanting, and the sights and sounds of daily fiestas fill the air. Awakened to needs they didn’t know they had, they returned to California, sold their house and cast off for a new life in San Miguel de Allende. This is Cohan's evocatively written memoir of how he and his wife absorb the town's sensual ambiance, eventually find and refurbish a crumbling 250-year-old house, and become entwined in the endless drama of Mexican life. Brimming with mystery, joy, and hilarity, On Mexican Time is a stirring, seductive celebration of another way of life—a tale of Americans who, finding a home in Mexico, find themselves anew.

From Publishers Weekly
In 1985, novelist and travel writer Cohan (Canary; Secular and Sacred) and his wife, Masako, traveled on a whim to the colorful Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende, where fireworks sputter from wooden towers on feast days, "mariachi singers' plangent howls" season the air, "cats roam the rooftops unimpeded" and "history, religion and ceremony soften the effects of change." Lured back for repeated visits, the Cohans finally made their home there. Casual yet studied in tone, this ode to Cohan's adopted town and nation devotes much space to San Miguel's legends, ancient and modern. The local nunnery's founder, who turned worms into butterflies, may be more fiction than fact. Cohan's acquaintance Ren, though, is real enough: the story of the murder that the locals believe he committed dominates a disturbing chapter called "The Man Who Was Killed Twice." Hospitality vies with inefficiency to make Cohan's Mexico a place of surprising ease and random hazards: "Mexican buses are reliable, cheap, and safe," but Mexican highway patrolmen demand bribes or worse; a friend of Cohan's dies when a hospital can't get her blood type. The Mexican day seems to last longer, and "nothing happens between two and four." Cohan also presents less serious downsides to his calmer Mexican lifestyle, explaining why it took him so long to get a verandah built on his 250-year-old house. The last few years have seen San Miguel become a destination for hip tourists: Cohan's pleasant account of its former obscurity may send his fans to further crowd its streets.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.
$14.95 (softcover)
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