Floricanto Press, June 2014 -
Historias is Carlos Mock’s latest musings on his past seen through his imagination. A set of short stories ranging from childhood jokes to life and death situations. “Historias is Carlos Mock’s most personal and intimate book, and I believe his best yet. These short stories, some barely more than anecdotes, resonate powerfully, with their mixture of revelation, symbolism, and Caribbean folklore. His autobiographical and medical tales are unique and compelling" Felice Picano, Author
- Category: Books
Released October 2009.
The Cuba Libre ("Free Cuba") is a cocktail made of Cola, lime, and rum. This cocktail is often referred to as a Rum and Coke in the United States and Canada, where the lime juice is optional. Bacardi claims ownership of the original, while some have also claimed it for Havana Club. It seems unlikely, however, that anyone could safely identify the first individual to combine rum and Coca-Cola-when seven or eight individuals lay claim to the creation of the Margarita, a far more complex drink-let alone identify the brand. Both the cocktail and its name remain politically loaded due to the history and current status of Cuba-United States relations. The situation is further complicated by Bacardi's political involvement in Cuba. Cuba Libre is sometimes called "Mentirita" ("little lie") by Cuban exiles opposed to the current Communist government run by Fidel Castro, as a comment that Cuba is currently not free.
Cuba Libre "Mentirita" is a history book. It is a different kind of history book in that it focuses on the Afro-Cuban population of the country. It traces its roots and attempts to explore their concept of "freedom". Whereas, for some, Cuba is not free, for others it is-if they define their freedom as not being dominated by the white race.
This is a Cuban history book filled with firsthand accounts and anecdotes-and takes the reader through Cuba's history from José Martí to the present regime. "In Cuba Libre, Carlos Mock makes a strong impression with an immensely readable, fact filled history of the land that is making news lately. His novelistic skills are apparent in his characterization and his often suspenseful narration. This is THE book about Cuba you must read." Felice Picano--Art & Sex in Greenwich Village
- Category: Books
The story of Puerto Rico through the eyes of my grandmother, mother, and aunt. How the inaction of both leading political parties is turning our countrymen into stone as we lose our identities. Nominated for a Lammie from the Lambda Literary Foundation. Floricanto Press 2007
Review by Tracy Baim Copyright by Windy City Times 2007-08-22
Chicagoan Carlos T. Mock is a political voyeur. He writes frequently on blogs and in newspaper columns about a wide range of gay and mainstream topics, and he has a special interest in Latino gay issues. He has written about his Puerto Rican identity in Borrowing Time: A Latino Sexual Odyssey, and published The Mosaic Virus, a novel about an AIDS-like virus and the Catholic Church.
Mock’s newest work, Papi Chulo, is similar to The Mosaic Virus in that it takes historical facts and massages them into a work of fiction, this time about the island of Puerto Rico and its fractured identity. Mock’s love of his native land is evident throughout Papi Chulo. His own hopes and dreams for his people ebb and flow with the tragic tides of history. He is cynical about political leaders and passionate about the people, some who are clearly modeled after inspiring heroes in his own life.
Mock’s background in medicine is also evident in Papi Chulo. One of the primary characters, María Rexach, becomes a pioneer in women’s health and the right to choose abortion. Born in 1900, we follow the path of both María’s own life and the life of her nation as it comes under control of the United States, and fights for its own life for more than a century.
We meet the real and imagined political leaders of the last century as they squabble and sometimes succeed in bringing rights to the island. We see how identity issues plague generations of people, as some move to the mainland and lose touch with their home, and as islanders dismiss them as not true Puerto Ricans. Puerto Ricans born on the mainland have an especially hard time with identity issues.
The novel is not a “gay novel” in the typical sense. However, it does include gay characters, and the sensitivities of the book are informed by an author who is both pro-choice and out.
There is a risk in creating an alternative universe, where some facts remain and others are altered to fit the vision of what the author wants to occur. The real people may be upset, but Mock clearly states at the beginning of the book that this is a work of fiction, even though some facts are real. Incidents of revolutionary violence ( to push for independence from the U.S. ) , political intrigue, funding of the Contras or even the Stonewall Riots of 1969 are used as backdrops for a multi-layered story about the potential of a people and the dreams of a nation.
Mock’s own antipathy for self-interested leaders is clear throughout the novel, but he uses the stories of individuals like María, her friend Clara Rodriguez, her children, her friends and others to show the pain through the eyes of people, making the history more accessible and the imagined reality all the more desired. As Mock would attest, if novelists ran the world, it would be a whole lot better place.
Book Review by Norman J. Eriksen
Assistant Division Manager Languages Literature and Fiction, Brooklyn Public Library 11.8.07
Carlos T Mock MD “Papi Chulo: a legend, a novel, and the Puerto Rican Identity
Floricanto Press 2007 230pgs paperback
The author has chosen to explore the history of Puerto Rico and what it means to be a Puerto Rican through the story of intertwined lives of Maria Rexach and Clara Rodriquez and the Maria’s daughter Ines Subira. Born of a wealthy family Maria becomes the guiding force field of women’s rights, medical services and the republican movement. Clara is the illegitimate daughter of the father of Maria’s future husband and becomes a key figure in the nationalist movement for independence. Ines Subira is the woman in which both of these women’s lives come together and their common goals for the future of Puerto Rico merge into the creation of an independent nation.
Ines and her brother Enrico move to the United States and find themselves in a place in which they are no longer part of the upper class society. Enrico must deal with the problem of having an Anglo lover, living in three different worlds, support himself as an airline steward and as a smuggler to support the nationalist movement. Both Enrico and Ines are observers of the Stonewall Riots and wonder what this will mean for the gay Puerto Rican community in New York.
The use of historical events such as the national and republican conflicts of independence versus statehood, the legal changes in the status of the government and the massive migration to New York in the 1950-1960’s help move the story along while at the same time examining the underlying question as what is it to be a Puerto Rican? Dr. Mock does not assume the person is fluent in the history of Puerto Rico and provides the background to certain events as part of the story. Spanish poems are intermingled in the text with English translations and each poem relates to the events within the chap -ter.
I found the book to be enjoyable, the characters to be realistic along with the settings in which they are placed. While reading the book I learned some about the history of Puerto Rico and the events that lead to the massive migration to New York in the 1950’ and 1960’s.
I would recommend purchase for most public libraries especially those with large Puerto Rican populations. University libraries with special collections that deal with the Puerto Rican community might consider this for their collections as well.
- Category: Books
A High profile pedophilia case involving a cardinal and the Church cover-up that follows. After you've finished the book go to: mosaicvirus.blogspot.com to read the research behind the story. Floricanto Press 2007.
Nominated for a Stonewall Award by the American Library Association GLBT Round Table
It is 1983. In Rome, Cardinal Siri, the most powerful Cardinal in the Vatican, summons a young Jesuit priest and assigns him a grave and urgent task. The Vatican has been keeping secret an epidemic of deaths among priests in the northeastern United States. Father Javier Barraza must determine how and why they are dying—and whether a suspected international conspiracy against the Holy Roman Church is coming to fruition.
Barraza is an Argentinean who has risen swiftly through the ranks to the post of Devil's Advocate—an investigator of candidates for sainthood. In his new assignment, his path immediately intersects with Lillian Davis-Lodge, a special agent with the FBI, and a compelling figure from Barraza's past. The reappearance of Lillian is more than mere coincidence; she is far from the "special agent" she claims to be. She occupies the highest echelons of power in the United States, with full access to information and influence. Secrets and spies inhabit the subterranean world of the Church just as they do the government of the United States, and a disturbing trail of evidence strongly indicates to Barraza that his Church may be complicit in what he has been assigned to investigate.
A virus, man-made and swiftly lethal, has killed the priests, and a Cardinal in the United States is involved. As Barraza uncovers more about the role of his Church and the true origin of its laws about celibacy and its gay priests, he begins to fundamentally question his allegiance to Rome and to the doctrines of his faith. When he and Lillian find the creators of the virus, they find themselves in a desperate game of wits with faceless, mysterious, all-powerful institutions looking to protect their public image at all costs. Javier and Lillian are expendable, and even Lillian cannot protect them.
Set in the arcane, yet alluring world of the Vatican, The Mosaic Virus will grip you in its terrifyingly-true-to-life tale of secrets, sex and violence. At the end, you’ll pray that it’s only fiction. Carlos Mock’s maiden voyage proves he is already a master storyteller.
Laura S. Washington
Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor, DePaul University
Columnist, Chicago Sun-Times
Kudos for "The Mosaic Virus", March 9, 2007
Carlos Mock has crafted an extraordinary tale of international intrigue in the Tom Clancy tradition. Through a dark labyrinth of government, religion and medical research gone mad, he threads the powerful love story of a Latino Catholic priest and a woman intelligence operative. And Mock keeps you guessing and gasping right to the last paragraph. This book should definitely be a movie.
Patricia Nell Warren is author of THE FRONT RUNNER and other bestsellers
Reviewed by Tracy Baim - Copyright by The Windy City Times, January 10, 2007
Chicagoan Carlos T. Mock is a doctor and his new novel, The Mosaic Virus ( Floricanto Press, paperback, edited by Katherine V. Forrest ), makes full use of his medical background to create a tale of murder and intrigue during the early 1980s.
Mock, who is well-known as a supporter of GLBT, AIDS and Latino causes in Chicago, has set his newest book in the Vatican, the U.S., and Cape Town, South Africa, as he sends readers around the world in search of the cause of a mysterious virus killing priests—a virus that is strikingly similar to the new plague just being discovered among gay men in the U.S.
Jesuit Priest Javier Barraza is our hero, trying to fight against repressive Catholic ideas as well as his own longing for a childhood sweetheart--a woman now working for the FBI. The two met as teenagers in Argentina, and Special Agent Lillian Davis-Lodge has made sure she meets up with her friend again years later as they both search for the truth. The book is full of intricate medical details, but it is not too intense for someone who does not understand the inner workings of a virus. We follow Barraza and Davis-Lodge as they try to unravel an onion of power and deceit that goes all the way to the White House and the Pope--starting with World War II and ending in 1983. Mock has used actual history as a backdrop, adjusting timelines and some facts to fit his fictional story, but that does not take away from the mystery and suspense.
The Mosaic Virus works by presenting intriguing ideas that work precisely because they could be true. The best science fiction works when it is just one layer away from the reality we all think we know. And, in fact, there have been theories professed by activists that the HIV virus itself could have been a man-made virus that simply moved beyond its initial intended targets and use. Mock even involves former Nazi scientists living in Cape Town, experimenting with a new group of subjects, Blacks in Apartheid South Africa.
In the "real world" just this past weekend, the Vatican's pick for archbishop of Warsaw, Stanislaw Wielgus, resigned after admitting he had worked with the Polish Communist-era secret police, according to The New York Times. There are many empires of power Mock tackles in The Mosaic Virus, but despite so many conspiracy theories, Mock has managed to write an accessible story of a parallel universe that just might not be parallel after all.
Reviewed by Ken Furtato - Copyright by Echo Magazine - Phoenix, December 23, 2006.
If you like a thriller based on a conspiracy theory with global ramifications, put Carlos T. Mock's Mosaic Virus on your shopping list. Mock finds an ingenious way to connect the dots between real historical events and characters in a way that history (perhaps) never intended, coming up with a story both scary and plausible.
It's the early 1980s and priests in New York State are dying at an alarming rate, of a mysterious illness that kills quickly, yet baffles the medical community. The Vatican dispatches an investigator, "Father Doctor Javier Barraza the Jesuit" to determine if someone is killing priests and if there's a conspiracy afoot against the Church.
Two highly positioned Cardinals have competing agendas: one wants to learn the truth and one wants to hide it in order to protect the Church. Add a deadly FBI agent, Lillian Davis-Lodge — a female James Bond who is poised to become the next FBI Director and who had an adolescent romance with Barraza. The Vatican invites her assistance, but the FBI has its own agenda in preventing Barraza from accomplishing his mission.
As for those dots, they begin with Pope Pius XII, the Nazi regime, and a young Jew being protected from the Nazis by one of the Cardinals. That youth will one day become New York's Cardinal Spellman, whose sexual dalliances with under-aged boys were the tip of the iceberg of the Church's pedophile-priest scandals. Popes Pius XII and John Paul I figure prominently in the plot, as do the Church's sex scandals, homosexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, genocide, and even Gaëtan Dugas, once dubbed "patient zero" in the AIDS pandemic.
Mosaic Virus also hints at the shattering, sometimes crushing mystery and incomprehensibility of faith.
The Roman Catholic Church is a sacred cow that is always worthy of another skewer, and Mock delivers a potent one. In a world of wealth, power, secrecy and behind-the-scenes manipulation of global events, there's still no good-old-boys club like the Catholic Church.
Carlos Mock is a Chicago-based physician whose writing covers a broad spectrum of genres and topics. To learn more about him, visit his Web site at www.carlostmock.com.
OH ,SO VERY DARK AND DISTURBING......!!!!!!!,
Reviewer: Paul A. Minafri (Phoenix, Arizona) - From a reader at Amazon.com January 31, 2007
I stumbled across this title while reading one of the gay publications I receive. The premise intrigued me, so I immediately bought the book and put it at the top of my "to read" pile. COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN.!!! The working of the Vatican can always pique a curious mind's interest. The Church is so arcane, even to its clerical membership, that anything that probes at the fringes of the Church has to be interesting. Coupled with the vast intrigues of the United States government, the Iron Curtain nations, and dashes of history, this novel will chill and give pause to the reader. Take Aids, homosexuality, murder, sex, science, history, the integration of real life figures who are partially depicted accurately, and the subtle suggestion of eugenics and you have a story that will render you speechless. So well written was this book, that it gave me pause as to the possibility of the legitimacy of its assertions. It is often said that truth is stranger than fiction. You decide. THIS IS A MUST READ. I have decided to re-read this work, and document what I can as to the facts asserted by its author. His arguments will haunt you.
- Category: Books
My memoir, the struggle with coming out in a Latino Culture ruled by machismo, religion, and close family ties and then confronting AIDS. Floricanto Press 2003.
Nominated for a Stonewall Award by the American Library Association GLBT Round Table. Nominated for a Publishing Triangle Award Now available in paperback.
This book is mislabeled: Borrowing Time is billed as a Latino sexual odyssey, but it is not. Instead, it is a wonderful story of love and compassion, growth and resolution, mourning and acceptance, and about family - the one you were born in, and the one you make. Carlos T. Mock has written an engaging book about growing up gay in Puerto Rico, and how it affected the life of the protagonist, Juan Subirá-Rexach. Yet, it is a story of a gay "everyman." Anyone self-aware of themselves and their sexuality at an early age has faced many of the same dilemmas, and made choices - some of which were good, some not so much, as Juan describes.
The tone of the book is the studied reflection of a man facing his maker and his making. It begins with a vivid description of a hospital horror. Not the kind of scene involving dismemberments and gore, but the mind-numbing, full-of-excruciating-pain type that seems to be without surcease, a purgatory of pain that does not allow any escape. In that kind of agony, the only resort is inward, to the steps that led to the torture that results from a failing body due to AIDS. Mock's description captures this hopelessness when Juan states that he is defenseless: "not life nor faith, nor any of the structures that surround me, nothing...nothing more than fear. What experiences are left? Death, nothing else."
But do not get the wrong impression. This is not some morbid book about death and dying; it's not the main storyline. Borrowing Time has delightful anecdotes about the first baby steps taken in self-recognition of being "different" from other kids and how this occurred on the Enchanted Isle. Macho in Puerto Rico is not just a mannerism; it is a way of life that is very different from Ozzie and Harriett. Being outside of that machismo mandate is both revealing and staggering to Juan, who knows internally it is okay to be feeling "those" feelings, but sees a very different reaction from those around him - especially his father. Mock addresses this problem with strength and self-worth; it is a joy to behold.
The story also delves into unconditional love, and observations from the lofty angle of painful remorse. Juan is able to see things through the focused lens of time, and thereby finds nuggets of truth: "For the first time in my life I learned the silence that is required to really talk to a loved one.” That "walls are either to protect what is inside, or to hide the fact there is nothing there." Or, that "love is like a clear stream; you don't know it's there till there's an impediment." And a favorite, "a relationship is judged on how well you travel together." Each of these observations comes from a life well lived and the recognition that the gifts and treasures given without end are "borrowed."
Most of the book is in leitmotif, and is an easy, fun read. For anyone who has had time to reflect on and assess where they have been and where they are going, and recognize the bullion of joy to be found, this is a must read.
Bob Hoff is an attorney practicing in Washington, D.C., living in Rehoboth Beach, Del., but reading in Condado Beach, Puerto Rico.
- Category: Books
Floricanto Press, Released December 2011
As a Puerto Rican living in the US, I no longer fit into my homeland. Every time I travel there, I'm considered un Americano. I'm always addressed in the English language. What's worse, my Puerto Rican friends who live on the Island don't seem to care about me anymore. I guess we've gone our separate ways-I've become too public with my homosexuality, while they endure best by living within the closet. On this side of the pond, in the United States, there are Puerto Ricans who have never been to Puerto Rico. They don't speak Spanish, they don't know our history or culture-yet, they declare themselves Puerto Rican. To them, I am less Puerto Rican than they because, in their eyes I didn't experience the same discrimination from the white culture while growing up as they did. So, where do I fit- what am I? I owe the answer to that question to my sister, Mayu-to whom I dedicate this book. As I cared for her and saw her cruel death arrive, unable to prevent it, I finally learned who I am. I am me, a special individual that is the sum total of all my experiences until now; no labels are needed to adequately describe me. Just like my sister-may she rest in peace-I will also turn into ashes when I die. This book tells some of my story, and because I think in both English and Spanish I decided to write it in both languages, to help those who still don't know who they are.
- Category: Poetry