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Cherríe Moraga: Native Country of the Heart
November 14, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pmFree
Cherríe Moraga discusses her new memoir, Native Country of the Heart.
Praise for Native Country of the Heart
“I love A Native Country of the Heart‘s forthright blending of a bio of Moraga’s intriguing powerhouse mom, Elivira, with Moraga’s own queer evolution. And that the intimate facts of Cherríe Moraga’s family history get embedded alongside such valuable public secrets as the mass deportation of Mexican workers during the depression so that dust bowl farmers could have their jobs. This book is a coup.” —Eileen Myles, author of Afterglow
“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
“Cherríe Moraga, a foundational contributor to modern Feminism, grapples with her fierce but withholding Mexican mother who—despite their struggles—remains her strongest touchstone of identification. A raw and vulnerable story of acceptance hard won.” —Sarah Schulman, author of The Cosmopolitans and Conflict is Not Abuse
“This a great book. In telling her mother’s life-story Cherríe Moraga ruthlessly examines her own heart and the deep complications of growing up mixed race and lesbian in a racist culture. But she also lays bare the spiritual core that strengthens and sustains her. The heart, the soul, familia and tribe, the native country is as narrow as the space between clenched fingers and as wide as the sightlines to the horizon.” —Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina
About Native Country of the Heart
From the celebrated editor of This Bridge Called My Back, Cherríe Moraga charts her own coming-of-age alongside her mother’s decline, and also tells the larger story of the Mexican American diaspora.
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.