Manana Means Heaven

manana means heaven cover image Manana Means Heaven

by Tim Z. Hernandez
General Fiction
University of Arizona Press
Hardcover, 240 pages
$24.95

There is a photo of a pair of gristled, knotty hands holding a copy of this book.  They belong to the 92-year-old Bea Franco who was “Terry,” Jack Kerouac’s On the Road “Mexican Girl.”  They met on a bus in Bakersfield, California in 1947 – a Chicana migrant worker and a college boy – and carried on a 15-day love affair. That much is true. This novel develops a context around that truth based upon Kerouac’s writings; letters and cards from Bea in the Kerouac archives in the New York Public Library; and the author’s encounter with the elderly Bea and her family. Together with a fertile imagination this makes an interesting addition to Kerouac lore. As fate would have it Bea Franco passed away on August 15th, 2013 at the age of 92 just before the book was released.