Bilingual Review Press has just published Lourdes Vázquez’s Not Myself without You (2012), translated by Bethany Korp-Edwards. Selfa Chew (University of Texas at El Paso) writes, “Not Myself Without you is a [a] beautiful and important narrative . . . Lourdes Vázquez has assertively written a memoir that renovates the genre. She paints with mastery and tenderness a cast of strong women who are not mere survivors of history, but the crafters of their own stories.”
Description: In Not Myself without You, a working-class Puerto Rican family of the 1940s and 1950s struggles to survive in the conflict and upheaval plaguing the Caribbean. The family members perform occult rituals in their living room and must live surrounded by the spirits, ghosts, and witches the call forth. Chronicling nearly two decades of the family’s history, the story involves characters who are connected to Puerto Rico but who move through the Caribbean, Central America, Spain, and New York, pulled by the conditions of the times and their own intense desires. As their stories come to light through fragments of prayers, sayings, poems, newspaper articles, and excerpts from books—a sort of family scrapbook—the characters themselves speak to a wide range of issues in voices that are familiar and humorous. Based on oral history and research, Not Myself Without You is the author’s own memoir with a strong fictional twist.
“I come from a large family, and family gatherings have always included a wealth of stories,” Vázquez says. After two adored great-aunts died and left specific instructions for the family to scatter their ashes in Manhattan’s Central Park, Vázquez began to write a eulogy. That eulogy developed into a collection of stories and anecdotes that she built upon through research resulting in a powerful narrative of humor, hope, and love.
Lourdes Vázquez is an award-winning author of fiction, poetry, essays, and interviews that have been published worldwide. Her most recent full-length works include the script A Porcelain Doll with Violet Eyes, Staring into Space (Wheelhouse Magazine, 2009); Samandar: Libro de viajes/Book of Travels (Buenos Aires: Tse Tse, 2007), and a collection of poetry, Bestiary (Bilingual Press, 2004). She has contributed to many journals, newspapers, and anthologies and is working on two more books.
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