Join us in welcoming acclaimed author, playwright, and activist Cherríe Moraga as she reads from her latest work.

Native Country of the Heart: A Memoir is, at its core, a mother-daughter story. The mother, Elvira, was hired out as a child, along with her siblings, by their own father to pick cotton in California’s Imperial Valley. The daughter, Cherríe Moraga, is a brilliant, pioneering, queer Latina feminist. The story of these two women, and of their people, is woven together in an intimate memoir of critical reflection and deep personal revelation.

As a young woman, Elvira left California to work as a cigarette girl in glamorous late-1920s Tijuana, where an ambiguous relationship with a wealthy white man taught her life lessons about power, sex, and opportunity. As Moraga charts her mother’s journey―from impressionable young girl to battle-tested matriarch to, later on, an old woman suffering under the yoke of Alzheimer’s―she traces her own self-discovery of her gender-queer body and Lesbian identity, as well as her passion for activism and the history of her pueblo. As her mother’s memory fails, Moraga is driven to unearth forgotten remnants of a U.S. Mexican diaspora, its indigenous origins, and an American story of cultural loss.

Poetically wrought and filled with insight into intergenerational trauma, Native Country of the Heart is a reckoning with white American history and a piercing love letter from a fearless daughter to the mother she will never lose.

A Q&A session and a book signing will follow the reading. For more information, call 718.230.2007 or email mangeles@bklynlibrary.org.

Praise for Native Country of the Heart:

"A beautiful, painful, funny, heartening and heartfelt immersion in the life of one of the leading voices of Latino/a literature, our very own Cherríe Moraga. Part elegy, part history and part testimonio rife with storytelling, Native Country of the Heart, like all of Moraga’s work, charts the unmapped and unspoken territories of body, mind, heart and soul and refuses to be confined by any border or genre. Her memoir is a defiant, deep and soulful book about all our mothers, mother cultures, motherlands and languages. Telling her own mother Elvira’s story is both a political and ceremonial act. “We were not supposed to remember,” Moraga writes. She does remember, and in this moving and brave book she gives us all a reckoning our country needs now. ―Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies

"[Native Country of the Heart] chronicles both a Mexican American coming-of-age story, as well as a coming-of-old-age story that, with warmth and a knack for intimate detail, inscribes two generations of women into the Mexican American literary canon . . . Moraga waxes poetically, philosophically and politically about the importance of memory, treating its preservation like a Holy Grail. With this book, Moraga is keeping her mother on her earth, capturing her, tethering her to the living." --Myriam Gurba, Ms.

"Perceptive and striking . . . For anyone who is hovering between two cultures, two countries, two parents, two ideals, two sexualities, two kinds of love, and a mother who is painfully present and disappearing." --Valerie Morales, Women's Review of Books

"[A] moving portrait . . . A sympathetic portrait of Mexican-American feminism (both in mother and daughter) delivered in a poignant, beautifully written way." --Kirkus (starred review)

 

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