Scenes from la Cuenca de Los Angeles y otros Natural Disasters

Scenes from la Cuenca de Los Angeles y otros Natural Disasters


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Scenes from la Cuenca de Los Angeles y otros Natural Disasters is a rarity in contemporary writing, a truly bilingual enterprise, as in Susana Chávez-Silverman's previous memoir, Killer Crónicas. Chávez-Silverman switches between English and Spanish, creating a linguistic mestizaje that is still a surprise encounter in the world of letters today, and she is one of a small but growing band of writers to embrace bilingualism as a literary force.

Each chapter is a "crónica," a vignette that began as intimate diary entries and e-mails and letters to lovers, friends, and ghosts from the past. These episodic chapters follow Chávez-Silverman's personal history, from California to South Africa and Australia and back, from unfathomable loss to deeply felt joy. Readers drawn into this witty book will confront their own conceptions of boundaries, borders, languages, memories, and spaces.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780299235246
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date: 04/27/2010
Series: Writing in Latinidad Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Susana Chávez-Silverman is professor of romance languages and literatures at Pomona College in California. She is author of Killer Crónicas and coeditor of Tropicalizations: Transcultural Representations of Latinidad and Reading and Writing the Ambiente: Queer Sexualities in Latino, Latin American, and Spanish Culture.

Read an Excerpt

Por su white, insouciant, papery look, por su semejanza a la amapola (scentless, a fin de cuentas, no obstante esa famosa escena de la Wicked Witch of the West, purring evilly, “Poppies, poppies will put them to sleep. Sleeeep, sleep . . .”), when I leaned in to sniff, I hadn’t been expecting any scent at all. Y por eso, el cool, familiar mounds of damp masa harina, Mercado Libertad en verano scent, es—por lo utterly inesperado—lo más disturbingly, comfortingly hechizante que tienen las paper flowers.
    Stay with me a while. Busquemos, together, más strange familiars.
—excerpt from chapter 1, “Diary Inside/Color Local Crónica”
© The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction: Cartografía Humana/Star Maps Crónica 3

I Diary Inside/ Color Local Crónica 10

II Montalvo Diary 17

III On Going Back Crónica 36

IV San Francisco Transcript/Diary 42

V In My Country Crónica 53

VI San Francisco Days Crónica 58

Un Pico (De)presión Diptych

VII Trincheras Crónica 65

VIII Hawk Call Crónica 69

IX Oda a la Ambigüedad Crónica 72

X Mountainess/Montañ(os)a Crónica 76

XI South Coast Plaza Crónica 83

XII I Want the Wrapper Crónica 88

XIII Mini Geography Lesson Crónica 91

XIV Arañita Cobriza Crónica 94

XV Westside Desilusión Crónica 97

There Was Blood Diptych

XVI Unos Cuantos Piquetitos Crónica 103

XVII Momentos Hemorrágicos Crónica 108

XVIII Currawong Crónica 117

XIX Por Montalvo Crónica 124

XX Alchemy Armisteadiana Crónica 130

XXI Tuberose Frenesí Crónica 135

XXII Solstice/Shamanic Magia Crónica 140

XXIII (Almost) Milagros Crónica 146

XXIV Todavía Wild (at Heart) Crónica 151

Afterword: Linguistic Perspectives on Code-Switching 155

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