Subscribe
Connecting Latinas All Over the World through Literature

June: Judith Ortiz Cofer

June 2017    Book of the Month

THE CRUEL COUNTRY by Judith Ortiz Cofer

Published by: The University of Georgia Press

ISBN: 978-0820347639

 Synopsis:

“I am learning the alchemy of grief―how it must be carefully measured and doled out, inflicted―but I have not yet mastered this art,” writes Judith Ortiz Cofer in The Cruel Country. This richly textured, deeply moving, lyrical memoir centers on Cofer’s return to her native Puerto Rico after her mother has been diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer.

Cofer’s work has always drawn strength from her life’s contradictions and dualities, such as the necessities and demands of both English and Spanish, her travels between and within various mainland and island subcultures, and the challenges of being a Latina living in the U.S. South. Interlaced with these far-from-common tensions are dualities we all share: our lives as both sacred and profane, our negotiation of both child and adult roles, our desires to be the person who belongs and also the person who is different.

What we discover in The Cruel Country is how much Cofer has heretofore held back in her vivid and compelling writing. This journey to her mother’s deathbed has released her to tell the truth within the truth. She arrives at her mother’s bedside as a daughter overcome by grief, but she navigates this cruel country as a writer―an acute observer of detail, a relentless and insistent questioner.

 

Bio:

Judith Ortiz Cofer (1952–2016) was the Regents’ and Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing Emerita at the University of Georgia. She is also the author of The Latin Deli: Telling the Lives of Barrio Women, An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio, Woman in Front of the Sun: On Becoming a Writer; and many other books. The University of Georgia Press published her first novel, The Line of the Sun, in 1989. “I am learning the alchemy of grief—how it must be carefully measured and doled out, inflicted—but I have not yet mastered this art,” writes Cofer in The Cruel Country. This richly textured, deeply moving, lyrical memoir centers on Cofer’s return to her native Puerto Rico after her mother has been diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer.

 


 

 

Special guest speakerLorraine Lopez:

Lorraine López is the author of six books of fiction and editor or coeditor of three essay collections. Her short story collection, Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories won the inaugural Miguel Marmól prize for fiction.  Her second book, Call Me Henri was awarded the Paterson Prize for Young Adult Literature, and her novel, The Gifted Gabaldón Sisters was a Borders/Las Comadres Selection.  López’s short story collection, Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories was a Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Prize in Fiction in 2010 and winner of the Texas League of Writers Award for Outstanding Book of Fiction.  An Angle of Vision: Women Writers on Their Poor or Working-Class Roots (University of Michigan Press, 2009) is her first edited collection.  Subsequent publications include a novel, The Realm of Hungry Spirits and two coedited collections, The Other Latin@: Writing against a Singular Identity, with Blas Falconer and Rituals of Movement in the Writings of Judith Ortiz Cofer, with Margaret Crumpton Winter.  The Darling, her most recent novel, was released by the University of Arizona Press in 2015.  An associate editor for The Afro-Hispanic Review, López is the co-founder, with Professor William Luis, and Associate Director of the Latino and Latina Studies (LATS) Program at Vanderbilt University.  Currently, she has just completed drafting a linked-story collection titled “Postcards from the Gerund State and Other Stories” and is in progress with a novel, “What We Have Here.”

 

 

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On Pinterest