El Iluminado by Ilan Stavans
A Graphic Novel

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Synopsis

When young Rolando Pérez falls to his death from a cliff outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, the mysteries immediately begin to accumulate. Was he pushed or did he jump? What are the documents that Rolando was willing sacrifice himself to protect from his family, the police, and the Catholic Church? And what does a colorful concha pastry have to do with any of this?

In the midst of the investigation, Professor Ilan Stavans arrives in Santa Fe to give a lecture about the area’s long-buried Jewish history. He’s looking forward to relaxing afterwards with an evening of opera, but his presentation on “crypto-Jews” attracts unexpected attention, and soon Ilan is drawn into a desperate race to find the long-lost documents that might hold the key to Rolando’s death. Ilan’s detective work leads him to taco joints, desert ranches, soaring cathedrals, and, finally, deep into the region’s past, where he encounters another young man: Luis de Carvajal, aka “El Iluminado,” a sixteenth-century religious dissenter. In a tale of martyrdom that eerily echoes Rolando’s, Carvajal fled Spain for colonial Mexico at the height of the Spanish Inquisition, searching for his religious heritage—a hunt for which he, like Rolando, would pay the ultimate price.

In El Iluminado, esteemed literary critic Ilan Stavans and author and illustrator Steve Sheinkin present a secret history of religion in the Americas, showing how thousands of European refugees have left a trail of ghostly footprints—and troves of mysteries—across the American Southwest.
 

About Ilan Stavans

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Ilan Stavans is Lewis-Sebring Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture and Five-College Fortieth Anniversary Professor at Amherst College. He is the author of Latino USA: A Cartoon History and editor of The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. His work has been translated into a dozen languages and adapted into theater and film. Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and of many international prizes and honors, he lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. Steve Sheinkin writes and draws the popular Rabbi Harvey graphic novels and writes award-winning nonfiction books for young adults. He lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.
 
Published November 13, 2012 by Basic Books. 208 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Comics & Graphic Novels, Arts & Photography, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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But somehow it carries on, from Sheinkin’s almost rudimentary depictions of Santa Fe’s desert austerity, to Stavans’ winking ridicule of his advocacy for Spanglish and self-mocking references to what is a fairly rich and impenetrable religious mystery.

Sep 30 2012 | Read Full Review of El Iluminado: A Graphic Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

In a tale of martyrdom that eerily echoes Rolando’s, Carvajal fled Spain for colonial Mexico at the height of the Spanish Inquisition, searching for his religious heritage—a hunt for which he, like Rolando, would pay the ultimate price.

In El Iluminado, esteemed literary critic Ilan...

Dec 09 2012 | Read Full Review of El Iluminado: A Graphic Novel

http://www.graphicnovelreporter.com

Actually, they have a lot in common: Like his leading man, writer Ilan Stavans is a professor of Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College and an expert on the culture of the Crypto-Jew (families of Jewish peoples who have hidden their religious identities for centuries, usually to avo...

| Read Full Review of El Iluminado: A Graphic Novel

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