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Martinez, Demetria Mother Tongue ISBN 13: 9780927534437

Mother Tongue - Softcover

 
9780927534437: Mother Tongue
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Eighteen-year-old Mary falls in love with Jose+a7 Luis, a refugee from the civil war in El Salvador, who represents a movement to expose the plight of thousands being harassed by a U.S.-supported military government. Winner of the Western States Book Award for Fiction. Reprint. Tour.

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From Kirkus Reviews:
Poetry, politics, and no-holds-barred emotions burst from the tiny binding of a notable first novel by poet and activist Mart”nez (Turning, not reviewed). Striking from the very first line is Mart”nez's ability to combine poetic language and imagery with novelistic structure and suspense: ``His nation chewed him up and spat him out like a pi¤¢n shell, and when he emerged from an airplane one late afternoon, I knew I would one day make love with him.'' It's 1982, civil war rages in El Salvador, and Mary, a 19-year-old Mexican-American, is helping smuggle refugees into New Mexico. Mary picks up a man at the airport and brings him back to her mentor's house, where the two hide out and house-sit while Soledad is away for the summer. The refugee picks an alias, Jos‚ Luis; she clothes him in Ivy League apparel; and they fall in love--at least, Mary falls deep in dreamy-eyed love with Jos‚ Luis, who, though he loves her, is bitterly realistic and somewhat distant. She pushes for asylum- securing marriage; he remains torn between the comforts of the US and his El Salvadoran cause. All this is conveyed by Mary, an avid diarist and storyteller, with contrasting perspectives provided in some essays and poems by Soledad, Jos‚ Luis, and, later, Jos‚ Luis Jr. The anxiety of a probably doomed love affair is palpably evoked as Mary struggles to ``develop [her] inner resources'' so she won't obsess over Jos‚ Luis. Their struggles come to a head on the night of their son's conception--shortly before his father's desertion. Believing it's important to remember everything, Mary unloads all of the family's skeletons onto the printed page so that their son will know the truth. Beautiful writing and astute commentary on identity, love, and El Salvadoran crises, wrapped cozy as a tamale with a maybe- happily-ever-after epilogue. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
From Publishers Weekly:
Winner of the 1994 Western States Book Award for fiction, Mother Tongue tells of the love between a young, naive Mexican-American girl named Maria and Jose Luis, a Salvadoran refugee. In touching, passionate, poetic prose, Martinez pulls the reader along on Maria's journey into womanhood and never lets go. Told through letters, journal entries, a grocery list and other bits of her life's incunabula, Maria reconstructs the story of her past to let her son know how he came to be. She says, "Once a story is begun the whole thing must be told or it kills." But as she pieces her story together, Maria also begins to heal herself. Until she decides to tell her story her wounds are invisible, but with her memories she peels away her outer layers until she reaches her true psychic muscle, an unsuspected inner strength as potent as that which she so admired in and craved from her lover. Few authors could master both the journey of self-discovery and the tumultuous landscape of love, politics and culture in such a brief novel, but Martinez's gentle lyricism is what makes her a master storyteller and makes Mother Tongue an unforgettable story.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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  • PublisherBilingual Pr
  • Publication date1994
  • ISBN 10 0927534436
  • ISBN 13 9780927534437
  • BindingPaperback
  • Number of pages121
  • Rating

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