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PW: What got you started writing The Short Sweet Dream of Eduardo Gutierrez (see review, next page), about the death of an unknown Mexican laborer?
JB: I think the greatest American novel is Christ in Concrete by Pietro Di Donato. Written in 1939. it's about an Italian immigrant who comes over here and he's working in a shoddy construction and drowns in concrete. So, I had this on my mind for a long time. I was in the Newsday offices and they told me a Mexican got drowned in concrete in Brooklyn. I said "Jeez, that's my song," and went right over there.
PW: So it started as a newspaper column?
JB: I did a column on this. But then I was so incensed, …