The “Latina Madwoman” at the Crossroads of Harm and Hope

Book review:

Halperin, Laura. Intersections of Harm: Narratives of Latina Deviance and Defiance. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2015. xii + 238 pages. ISBN 978-0-8135-7036-5. Pbk. $29.95.

Chronotopes of the City: Spatial Injustice and Narrative Form in Helena María Viramontes’s Their Dogs Came with Them

Combining Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of the chronotope and Sarah Dillon’s notion of the palimpsest, the essay highlights the dialogic relationship between narrative time and space in Chicana author Helena María Viramontes’s novel, Their Dogs Came with Them (2007). Set in East Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s—the heyday of urban renewal projects and the rapid spread of freeways—the novel registers the geographical displacement and constrained socio-economic mobility of Mexican Americans whose homes are demolished by the freeway building bulldozers. The spatial form of intersectionality characterizing the architectural structure of the freeways also describes the narrative form of the novel. The non-linear narrative is structured upon multiple intersecting plotlines, each of which portrays the social struggles of a young Chicana woman inhabiting the city. Focusing on the interplay of environmental theme and narrative form, the paper explores the narrative representation of East Los Angeles as a spatially and temporally multilayered landscape that palimpsestously overlays and interconnects the personal memory of the characters and the collective history of Mexican Americans’ socio-political oppression in North America. (BR)

Can Female Resistance Emerge from Vulnerability?

Book review:

Butler, Judith, Zeynep Gambetti, and Leticia Sabsay, eds. Vulnerability in Resistance. Durham: Duke UP, 2016. x + 336. ISBN 978-0-8223-6290-6. Pbk. $26.95.

The Memory of Land in Cherríe Moraga’s Heroes and Saints

Chicana playwright Cherríe Moraga attributes healing power to memory, which has an important geographical dimension in her play Heroes and Saints (1994). The play dramatizes the suffering of a community of Mexican Americans in California, whose women and children are affected by toxic poisoning as a consequence of agriculture’s overt reliance on pesticides. Whereas critical discussions have dealt extensively with the representation of the body in the play, this study argues for the recognition that the land and the particular places the individual characters inhabit have a decisive impact on the formation of the body. The memory of the land—the Mexican homeland of the immigrant people and the lands of a transnational Latino imagination—is a transformative force in the play, which impels the community to recognize the need to stand up for their rights.

“Close your eyes. Picture a character. . .”: A Route to Imagery and Creativity

Book review:

García-Romero, Anne. The Fornes Frame: Contemporary Latina Playwrights and the Legacy of Maria Irene Fornes. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 2016. xiii + 240 pages. ISBN 978-0816531448. Pbk. $24.95.