Sandra Cisneros on Upholstery and Amphibianism

“I always admired that my father had this little business card that said Cisneros Upholstery — custom quality furniture. And my dream was to have a card that said Sandra Cisneros — writer, custom quality work. And I finally did it.”

We’re right on the heels of Hispanic American Heritage Month (September 15 — October 15), and so is Sandra Cisneros’s new release, A House of My Own: Stories from My Life. NPR’s Kelly McEvers interviewed the Chicago-born, Mexican-American author last month. Click here to listen.

As an enthusiast of Cisneros’s poetry and prose (e.g., My Wicked, Wicked Ways, Loose Woman, and Woman Hollering Creek), I snapped up a copy of A House of My Own as soon as it crossed my path. And it’s no less delightful than her literature—not quite autobiography, not quite memoir, the book is a conglomeration of the nonfiction writing Cisneros has produced since the start of her career, much of it touching upon her family and friendships and the concept of “home” (which readers see manifest in her first novel, The House on Mango Street).

228228933295630861139253McEvers asks Cisneros about her navigation of literal and figurative borders, both as a traveler and a standard of Chicana literature: “Does that idea of being a border crosser come back around to this idea of seeking a house of your own, that if you’re crossing back and forth, maybe you’re not entirely firmly securely content in one or the other?”

This is a question Cisneros turns over again and again in A House of My Own.

“Maybe my job is to be an amphibian,” she replies, “so that the water people and the land people can understand each other. And I think, especially in this time, climate of fear, who better to travel between these two worlds than those of us who are mixed race, or mestizos? We’re the diplomats, the ambassadors so to speak, during the age of susto [fear].”

Place your hold on A House of My Own: Stories from My Life right here.


About centerforthereader

St. Louis Central Library, Center for the Reader, is where you can find fiction, reading suggestions, author information, and much more!
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