Friday, February 14, 2014

#FridayReads: Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement

Book list material:

Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement

A haunting story of love and survival that introduces an unforgettable literary heroine

Ladydi Garcia Martínez is fierce, funny and smart. She was born into a world where being a girl is a dangerous thing. In the mountains of Guerrero, Mexico, women must fend for themselves, as their men have left to seek opportunities elsewhere. Here in the shadow of the drug war, bodies turn up on the outskirts of the village to be taken back to the earth by scorpions and snakes. School is held sporadically, when a volunteer can be coerced away from the big city for a semester. In Guerrero the drug lords are kings, and mothers disguise their daughters as sons, or when that fails they “make them ugly” – cropping their hair, blackening their teeth- anything to protect them from the rapacious grasp of the cartels. And when the black SUVs roll through town, Ladydi and her friends burrow into holes in their backyards like animals, tucked safely out of sight.

While her mother waits in vain for her husband’s return, Ladydi and her friends dream of a future that holds more promise than mere survival, finding humor, solidarity and fun in the face of so much tragedy. When Ladydi is offered work as a nanny for a wealthy family in Acapulco, she seizes the chance, and finds her first taste of love with a young caretaker there. But when a local murder tied to the cartel implicates a friend, Ladydi’s future takes a dark turn. Despite the odds against her, this spirited heroine’s resilience and resolve bring hope to otherwise heartbreaking conditions.

An illuminating and affecting portrait of women in rural Mexico, and a stunning exploration of the hidden consequences of an unjust war, PRAYERS FOR THE STOLEN is an unforgettable story of friendship, family, and determination.

Jennifer Clement's new novel Prayers for the Stolen was awarded the NEA Fellowship in Literature 2012 and will be published by Hogarth (USA and UK) in February 2014. The book has also been purchased by Suhrkamp, (Germany), Editions Flammarion, Gallimard (France), De Bezige Bij (Holland), Cappelen Damm (Norway), Hr Ferdinand (Denmark), Bonniers Förlag (Sweden), Laguna (Serbia), Euromedia (Czech Republic), Ikar (Slovakia) Lumen (Spain/Mexico), Guanda (Italy), Like (Finland), Libri (Hungary), Bjartur (Iceland),Rocco (Brazil),Israeli Penn Publishing (Israel, Muza (Poland) and Sindbad (Russia).

Jennifer Clement studied English Literature and Anthropology at New York University and also studied French literature in Paris, France. She has an MFA from the University of Southern Maine.

Clement is the author of the cult classic memoir Widow Basquiat (on the painter Jean Michel Basquiat) and two novels: A True Story Based on Lies, which was a finalist in the Orange Prize for Fiction, and The Poison That Fascinates.

She is also the author of several books of poetry: The Next Stranger (with an introduction by W.S. Merwin); Newton's Sailor; Lady of the Broom and Jennifer Clement: New and Selected Poems. Her prize-winning story A Salamander-Child is published as an art book with work by the Mexican painter Gustavo Monroy.

Jennifer Clement was awarded the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Fellowship for Literature 2012. She is also the recipient of the UK's Canongate Prize. In 2007, she received a MacDowell Fellowship and the MacDowell Colony named her the Robert and Stephanie Olmsted Fellow for 2007-08. Clement is a member of Mexico's prestigious "Sistema Nacional de Creadores."

Jennifer Clement was President of PEN Mexico from 2009 to 2012. She lives in Mexico City, Mexico and, along with her sister Barbara Sibley, is the founder and director The San Miguel Poetry Week.

via Amazon

Friday, February 07, 2014

#FridayReads: Quesadillas by Juan Pablo Villalobos

Add this to your book list, Quesadillas by Juan Pablo Villalobos:

It’s the 1980s in Lagos de Moreno—a town where there are more cows than people, and more priests than cows—and a poor family struggles to overcome the bizarre dangers of living in Mexico. The father, a high-school civics teacher, insists on practicing and teaching the art of the insult, while the mother prepares hundreds of quesadillas to serve to their numerous progeny: Aristotle, Orestes, Archilochus, Callimachus, Electra, Castor, and Pollux. Confined to their home, the family bears witness to the revolt against the Institutional Revolutionary Party and their umpteenth electoral fraud. This political upheaval is only the beginning of Orestes’s adventures and his uproarious crusade against the boredom of rustic life and the tyranny of his older brother.

     Both profoundly moving and wildly funny, Juan Pablo Villalobos’s Quesadillas is a satiric masterpiece, chock-full of inseminated cows, Polish immigrants, religious pilgrims, alien spacecraft, psychedelic watermelons, and many, many "your mama" insults.

Juan Pablo Villalobos was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1973, and lives in Brazil, where he writes for various publications and teaches courses in Spanish literature. He has written literary criticism, film criticism, and short stories. Villalobos is the author of Down the Rabbit Hole (FSG, 2012), which has been translated into fifteen languages.

Friday, January 31, 2014

#FridayReads: Thirteen Ways of Looking at Latino Art

Out next month, in Thirteen Ways of Looking at Latino Art Paperback, the essayist and cultural commentator Ilan Stavans and the analytic philosopher Jorge J. E. Gracia share long-standing interests in the intersection of art and ideas. Here they take thirteen pieces of Latino art, each reproduced in color, as occasions for thematic discussions. 

Whether the work at the center of a particular conversation is a triptych created by the brothers Einar and Jamex de la Torre, Andrés Serrano's controversial Piss Christ, a mural by the graffiti artist BEAR TCK, or Above All Things, a photograph by María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Stavans and Gracia's exchanges inevitably open out to literature, history, ethics, politics, religion, and visual culture more broadly. 

Autobiographical details pepper Stavans and Gracia's conversations, as one or the other tells what he finds meaningful in a given work. Sparkling with insight, their exchanges allow the reader to eavesdrop on two celebrated intellectuals—worldly, erudite, and unafraid to disagree—as they reflect on the pleasures of seeing.

Ilan Stavans is Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. He has written, edited, and translated many books, including Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language, The Poetry of Pablo Neruda, and The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. 

 Jorge J. E. Gracia is Samuel P. Capen Chair and SUNY Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature at the State University of New York at Buffalo. His many books include Painting Borges: Philosophy Interpreting Art Interpreting Literature, Images of Thought: Philosophical Interpretations of Carlos Estévez's Art, and Latinos in America: Philosophy and Social Identity.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Azucar! Kara Walker's Marvelous Sugar Babies Coming to NYC

Kara Walker is one of my foremost favorite artists.

Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg
Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg (Photo: Wikipedia)
 This May she will take over Brooklyn’s legendary Domino Sugar Factory to present Marvelous Sugar Baby, an homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant. Cannot wait!



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Alfonso Cuarón, Best Director

Congrats to the director and his whole movie crew!

GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD
Best Director, Motion Picture

Here's a little behind the scenes feature from Warner Bros:


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What will your verse be?

I caught this Apple iPad Air commercial Sunday night and thought it was simply brilliant marketing especially to its intended audience. Apple definitely sets the standard again:



 
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