KILLER CRNICAS: Bilingual Memories

Susana Chavez-Silverman, Author, Paul Allatson, Foreword by . Univ. of Wisconsin $19.95 (174p) ISBN 978-0-299-20220-0

Readers new to California-born Chávez-Silverman's unapologetic and bold back-and-forth between English and Spanish may at first be unable to classify what they are reading. It's quick, charming and utterly confusing to those who don't speak some Spanish. But the author aims to wake readers up, make them think and develop a truly 21st-century notion of multiculturalism. Early on in this bittersweet, often sarcastic and meditative memoir, Chávez-Silverman tells readers, "Para explicar estos mis flights (of fancy), tendría que empezar por decir que soy, it is—my language—cual homing pigeon on acid." As Chávez-Silverman, who teaches Romance languages and literatures at Pomona College, takes readers across borders and through time, she throws together a bevy of words diverse and complex enough to represent her vast variety of life experiences, from facing the challenges of being a Latina woman to dealing with loneliness, going out dancing and exploring new cultures. This is a memoir of place, as Chávez-Silverman recounts feeling isolated and alone in Johannesburg, at home in Los Angeles and as if she is searching in Buenos Aires. In his foreword, Latino culture expert Paul Allatson rightly declares, "[T]he kinds of code-switching and linguistic inventions that characterize [this book] represent a new 'American' literary and linguistic form." This is not a memoir written outside the box; it is a memoir written to obliterate it. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/27/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 152 pages - 978-0-299-20224-8
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