A house of my own Stories from my life

Sandra Cisneros

Book - 2015

"A book of essays spanning the author's career a[nd] reflecting upon the various homes she's lived in around the world"--

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BIOGRAPHY/Cisneros, Sandra
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Subjects
Genres
Autobiographies
Essays
Published
New York : Knopf 2015.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Item Description
"This is a Borzoi book" -- Verso title page.
Physical Description
382 pages : color illustrations ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780385351331
038535133X
Main Author
Sandra Cisneros (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* By gathering together more than 40 essays and musings written for various occasions and undertakings between 1984 and 2014, Cisneros, beloved author of the novels The House on Mango Street (1984) and Caramelo (2002), has created her first work of nonfiction, a patchwork-quilt memoir resplendent with one hundred color photographs. Her reflections on houses she's lived in and the meaning of home form a unifying motif, along with accounts of her early struggle to envision a way forward as a self-described "American Mexican" and "working-class writer." Cisneros chronicles with profound insights and striking detail family abodes in Chicago and Mexico City, sojourns on a Greek island and in Sarajevo, Venice, and Chiapas, Mexico, and the uproar over her purple house in San Antonio. Cisneros pays passionate homage to her parents and such writers and artists as Gwendolyn Brooks, Elena Poniatowska, Eduardo Galeano, and Astor Piazzolla. She also examines with abrading candor and impish wit gender expectations, sexuality, and her long campaign to become "a woman comfortable in her skin," the corollary to her love of home as sanctuary: "A house for me is the freedom to be." At once righteously irreverent and deeply compassionate, Cisneros writes frankly and tenderly of independence and connection, injustice and transcendence, resilience and creativity, the meaning of home and the writer's calling. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Cisneros will tour the country with this mosaic of autobiographical stories guaranteed to enthrall her many fans. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

Acclaimed Chicana author Sandra Cisneros's A House of My Own collects nonfiction essays spanning the years from 1984 to 2014.  In these she reflects on her childhood in Chicago and her emerging literary voice as a Mexican American woman writer while studying for her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop.  Throughout her career, Cisnero writes in her introduction, she "passed through a lot of houses, loves, and typewriters, never quite finding the right one."  Eventually she followed literary predecessor Virginia Woolf's advice by claiming, as she says in the title story, "a space all my own just to write"—first in San Antonio, Texas, in her "casa rosada," and later in San Miguel de los Chichimecas, Mexico.  Cisneros's narrative and poetic brilliance is developed through memory: she "cut[s] apart and stitch[es] together events to tailor a story, to give it shape … because real-life stories rarely come to [one] complete."  Cisneros's expertise at crafting fiction and poetry derives from her power of finding "just enough" right words, a skill that has made her the female voice of la raza for her generation Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. Copyright 2016 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

What does the heart-strung, high-strung marriage of MacArthur fellow Cisneros's parents have in common with the works of Marguerite Duras? They are among the subjects the author considers in a collection of pieces written over three decades (including some you've never been able to read) and doubles as a memoir. With a 40,000-copy first printing. [Page 56]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street and Caramelo, has here written what may well be the best memoir of the year thus far. She seamlessly weaves "memories" from her life from 1984 through 2014 (some written for specific audiences and expanded in this volume). As in her fiction and poetry, Cisneros blends family stories from Chicago and Mexico with lively storytelling, rich details, and good humor. The result is a fierce portrait of an artist and her quest, and the roads taken and not taken to find a home of her own. All readers who are interested in creative writing, memoir, American literature, and Chicana literature will appreciate. VERDICT This memoir deserves to find the broad and wide readership of Cisneros's earlier books. [See Prepub Alert, 4/27/15.]—Pam Kingsbury, Univ. of North Alabama, Florence [Page 101]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Cisneros, a MacArthur Fellow and two-time NEA grant recipient, has felt one constant emotion throughout her life: a hunger for a place that belongs to her, a place where she is free. In her lyrical, warm, and richly detailed account, Cisneros writes of her nomadic family. She, her parents, and her six brothers only find some sense of permanence during regular visits to her paternal grandparents in Mexico City. It isn't until she's an adolescent that they get their first real home in Chicago, which inspires her most famous novel, The House on Mango Street. But when given the chance, she flees in the early 1970s from the old-world, marriage-minded patriarchy of her father's home for university and an M.F.A. Then, with the half-finished Mango manuscript in tow, she leaves the country for the first time, at 28. She lands in Greece and finds her first home of her own, a house where she writes in the garden looking out over the mountains. Many years on, it "holds a dazzling place in my memory." Like many artists, Cisneros often lives as an itinerant; as a Mexican-American from "Chicano, Illinois," she toggles between two metaphorical worlds. Settling in San Antonio, she wears tunics, the same style worn by the servants her Mexican relatives employ, and declares, "This cloth is the flag of who I am." Now in her 60s, Cisneros vividly evokes the many stages of her life and the places she's been. (Oct.) [Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"A book of essays spanning the author's career a[nd] reflecting upon the various homes she's lived in around the world"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Presents a collection of true stories and nonfiction pieces, spanning nearly three decades, that, read together, paint an intimate portrait of a literary legend's life and career.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"From the beloved author of The House on Mango Street: a richly illustrated compilation of true stories and nonfiction pieces that, taken together, form a jigsaw autobiography: an intimate album of a literary legend's life and career. From the Chicago neighborhoods where she grew up and set her groundbreaking The House on Mango Street to her abode in Mexico, in a region where "my ancestors lived for centuries," the places Sandra Cisneros has lived have provided inspiration for her now-classic works of fiction and poetry. But a house of her own, where she could truly take root, has eluded her. With this collection--spanning nearly three decades, and including never-before-published work--Cisneros has come home at last. Ranging from the private (her parents' loving and tempestuous marriage) to the political (a rallying cry for one woman's liberty in Sarajevo) to the literary (a tribute to Marguerite Duras), and written with her trademark sensitivity and honesty, these poignant, unforgettable pieces give us not only her most transformative memories but also a revelation of her artistic and intellectual influences. Here is an exuberant, deeply moving celebration of a life in writing lived to the fullest--an important milestone in a storied career"--

Review by Publisher Summary 4

The much-loved author of The House on Mango Street presents a collection of true stories and nonfiction pieces, spanning nearly three decades, that, read together, paint an intimate portrait of a literary legend's life and career.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

From the author of The House on Mango Street, a richly illustrated compilation of true stories and nonfiction pieces that, taken together, form a jigsaw autobiography—an intimate album of a beloved literary legend. From the Chicago neighborhoods where she grew up and set her groundbreaking The House on Mango Street to her abode in Mexico in a region where “my ancestors lived for centuries,” the places Sandra Cisneros has lived have provided inspiration for her now-classic works of fiction and poetry. But a house of her own, where she could truly take root, has eluded her. With this collection—spanning three decades, and including never-before-published work—Cisneros has come home at last. Ranging from the private (her parents’ loving and tempestuous marriage) to the political (a rallying cry for one woman’s liberty in Sarajevo) to the literary (a tribute to Marguerite Duras), and written with her trademark lyricism, these signature pieces recall transformative memories as well as reveal her defining artistic and intellectual influences. Poignant, honest, deeply moving, this is an exuberant celebration of a life in writing lived to the fullest.