San Ramón author compiles short stories of local life

Paul Brenes is a professional lawyer, avid historian, and now a published author. The do-it-all San Ramón resident recently published a book of short stories entitled “Los Perros Guapeados.”

Consisting of 73 stories, the collection details the honorable traditions and colorful characters of the canton through farfetched tales and sceneries painted in magical light. Brenes began work on the stories in 1988, but said he really spent the last decade honing in on perfecting and completing each one.

“I continued in the last 10 years with more intensity,” he said. “It took me through a good deal of research and editing.”

His short stories stem from the influence of his townsfolk and San Ramon’s history. Though historically-based, the stories are also drenched in comic narrative that highlight the characters and nostalgias that are experienced in any tight-knit pueblo.

“Humor is an important part of life, it shows us another facet of people who generally seem very serious and formal,” Brenes said. “Each town should have a compilation of these tales from collective memory, and I think this book is a testament to that.”

Brenes recently presented the book to the Centro Cultural e Histórico José Figueres Ferrer in San Ramón. He said it will soon be available at different bookstores or can be ordered via email.

The book’s prologue, written by local anthropologist Fernando González, outlines the way Brenes is able to draw upon a lifetime of shared stories and filter them through his unique imagination.

“Anecdotal events occur every day in communities and social groups,” González said. “The majority go unnoticed or reduced to family circles. Only a few transcend time and generations – and like different stories and legends – they form part of the cultural heritage and identity of the peoples.”

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