Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood

Judith Ortiz Cofer, Author Arte Publico Press $12.95 (168p) ISBN 978-1-55885-015-6
The essays and poems in Ortiz Cofer's latest collection bridge the gap between autobiography and fiction, between personal remembrance and social commentary. As she shuttles between her village in Puerto Rico and the concrete high-rise ``barrio'' in Paterson, N.J., where her family lived half of each year, Ortiz Cofer faces the displacement that all military children--her father was in the U.S. Navy--must endure. But her cultural dichotomy is more acute. Indeed, it forms the narrative structure of the book, providing the context for the timeless themes of coming of age. In ``The Looking-Glass Shame,'' she contrasts her mother's implacable ties to island tradition with her own freedom to break them. Yet while America, ``Los Nueva Yores,'' opens up new vistas for the author, it also threatens to eradicate her ancestral foundations, her deepest, most poignant childhood memories. Poet and novelist Ortiz Cofer ( The Line of the Sun ) recovers the warp and weft of her experience in stellar stories patterned after oral tradition. Essays appeared previously in the Georgia Review and other publications. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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