“I Hunt for Stars Alone” is the missing verse in the song of time. Dr. Ricardo Quintana-Vallejo, an English professor at Rhode Island College, is hosting a book release on Feb. 16 for his new story, “I Hunt for Stars Alone.” Hosted at Rifraff, Providence’s beloved bookstore and bar, Dr. Vallejo will be reading excerpts, answering questions and signing copies starting at 6:00 p.m.
Vallejo's words are beautifully written through tender emotion in the form of verse and sonnets. The book follows a young Mexican boy who discovers himself while being relocated after the 9/11 attacks. The main character struggles with understanding gender, identity, prejudice and suspicion, love and friendship.
Identity, sexuality and oppression are tackled in a whole new way. Universal classics do not dwell on the subject of identity combined with sexuality in the way Vallejo does. The troubles of youth are spoken through verse while self-introspection in older age is reflected through sonnets. This allows for the reader to interpret a meaning from the story to their own life regardless of being in the same circumstance. “Classic literature has an idea of a shared identity whereas this book enhances a shared search for one's own identity,” said Dr. Vallejo
There is a yearning to belong that each individual understands but that literature tends to gentrify. This story speaks to an individual finding themself, those displaced through devastation and those who are oppressed throughout their search. Consciousness is provoked throughout Vallejo's book through the canon of seeing and being seen. This story has unique visuals through descriptive images and metaphors laid out in the main character's thoughts.
Love, friendship, surviving through suspicion and finding self worth are themes all readers can relate to. However, this story breaks barriers for those in the non-majority: culture, status and sexual orientation wise. It is written in a style similar to poet and novelist Ocean Vuong and partly based on a true story. The story is something that needed to be written. It has prospects for those of Mexican culture and specifically for those a part of the LGBTQ+ community. “I Hunt for Stars Alone” is published by North Meridian Press and can be found on Amazon and Goodreads. Copies are also for sale during the book release event. Make sure to stop by Riffraff, located at 60 Valley St, in Providence. The event is for all book worms and not just RIC students and faculty. Come grab a cocktail or coffee and discover your new favorite story.