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Rudolfo Anaya's novel Heart of Aztlán is set in several locales in or around Albuquerque, New Mexico. The reader enters the 1950s farmland around Albuquerque in a community called Guadalupe. Clemente Chávez, his wife and his sons and daughters are forced to leave their much loved farmland and go to the barrio, or Chicano suburb, of Barelas in the big city of Albuquerque where they find a house near the house of Clemente's other son and daughter-in-law. Here, Clemente starts a job at the railroad. Then Clemete encounters Aztlán.
In Guadalupe, the Chávez family farmed the family land. Due to mounting debts accrued by Clemente's father and brother--debts Clemente can't pay--he is forced to sell the farm and uproot the family and their traditions and relocate them all in an alien place where he finds everything strange and unsettling from the practice of religion to consumerism to technologies of the first post-war decade.
In Albuquerque--where the barrio, their homes, the railroad and the social dangers are, including a corrupt union boss--things go very wrong for the whole family: Clemente, driven by his confusion and alienation, becomes an alcoholic; Jason sees a man die at the railroad; Benjie becomes an addict; the women become prostitutes.
When Clemente turns to Crispin, the blind blues guitarist, who is a mystic and seer, and goes with him to touch the magical, mystical stone, he is transported to Aztlán where ancient Mexican knowledge and contact with the ancient gods gives him wisdom to become a leader in the barrio and among the workers.
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