“I am learning the alchemy of grief—how it must be carefully measured and doled out, inflicted—but I have not yet mastered this art,” writes Judith Ortiz Cofer in The Cruel Country. This richly textured, deeply moving, lyrical memoir centers on Cofer’s return to her native Puerto Rico after her mother has been diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer. Cofer’s work has always“I am learning the alchemy of grief—how it must be carefully measured and doled out, inflicted—but I have not yet mastered this art,” writes Judith Ortiz Cofer in The Cruel Country. This richly textured, deeply moving, lyrical memoir centers on Cofer’s return to her native Puerto Rico after her mother has been diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer. Cofer’s work has always drawn strength from her life’s contradictions and dualities, such as the necessities and demands of both English and Spanish, her travels between and within various mainland and island subcultures, and the challenges of being a Latina living in the U.S. South. Interlaced with these far-from-common tensions are dualities we all share: our lives as both sacred and profane, our negotiation of both child and adult roles, our desires to be the person who belongs and also the person who is different. What we discover in The Cruel Country is how much Cofer has heretofore held back in her vivid and compelling writing. This journey to her mother’s deathbed has released her to tell the truth within the truth. She arrives at her mother’s bedside as a daughter overcome by grief, but she navigates this cruel country as a writer—an acute observer of detail, a relentless and insistent questioner....
|Title||:||The Cruel Country|
|Number of Pages||:||240 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Cruel Country Reviews
Instead of being depressing as I somewhat expected this book to be, I found it absolutely beautiful, and touching on the deepest of levels. If you have lost anyone close to you, the words of Judith Ortiz Cofer will ring true to you and you will easily be able to identify with her position. The writing in this book is so personal, that I felt like the author was speaking directly to me. Her memories and grief combine together to portray her emotions and to honour the life of someone she clearly held very dear. This book made me stop and think about all of the things we take for granted in our daily lives. It made me think about the relationships we have with those who are closest to us, and helped me to reflect on my life with my own mother. I recommend this book to anyone who is going through the grieving process. The Cruel Country is haunting, intelligent and the kind of book that will make you laugh and cry simultaneously. This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
I cried, shivered, laughed, and marveled my way through The Cruel Country in two days at the beach. I had set it aside to read there, in beauty and relative solitude. I read many parts aloud to my husband. Cofer's gift for portraying the most intense, as well as the seemingly insignificant, moments of her life make this book a blessing for anyone who reads it. Anyone with a mother. Anyone who experiences cultural duality. Anyone who has rejected religion and is surprised to find a spiritual connection. Anyone.
A father-in-law dies. A mother dies. A husband takes ill. The Cruel Country, by Judith Ortiz Cofer is an amorphous meditation on all this. Not a particularly uplifting book with which to start 2016.Part way through The Cruel Country, I thought to myself Is this really necessary? Not that the book isn't necessary to the author; with each word, you can feel how cathartic this memoir is for her, the ability to place all this in a narrative, however unsatisfying. But the book in relation to the reader: my father-in-law and mother are still alive, my husband isn't sick. Ortiz Cofer's words are going to be nothing more than a pale simulacrum until these things happen to me, in the same way that explaining motherhood to the childfree is a somewhat futile task. What can I say to an experience I haven't lived through? Is it a failure of the words that I feel distanced from them? A failure of my own imagination? A failure of empathy? A failure of eliciting empathy? I can't say. I can say that a few times the jumps between paragraphs fall flat, too quick transitions. I can say that there is some repetition, because of the repetitiveness of life, but that doesn't mean I want to read it. I can say there is some unevenness, the story pushed into two books, one far longer than the other, so the second, dealing with the illness of her husband, feels more like a P.S. at the end, with the writing style and tone changing almost completely (less poetry, less Spanish).I'll say I loved the Spanish words sprinkled in. I'll say I love, now and then, with the poetry. I'll say I love this, this quote:Ave María. Let me learn to relinquish her physical presence. Let her be the dew in the grass, the seed in the rich black earth, the shade of the tree; let her be in the ephemeral bloom of the hibiscus plant ... with flowers that fold unto themselves each night and are renewed each day.I'll think of that with my grandmother, who is the closest person I've lost, who was Catholic, and slightly foreign to my Protestant upbringing. I'll think of her as I watch the little kids across the way tobogganing down their hill in the snow, almost a completely perpendicular image from the de afuera who lives in Georgia, USA, and comes to Puerto Rico to bury her mother. Let me learn to relinquish; at least that I will take away from this book that I can barely even fathom.The Cruel Country, by Judith Ortiz Cofer went on sale March 1, 2015.I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Beautiful, tense, elegiac. A moving evocation of the psychological process of losing and mourning and--in the heart--reclaiming a powerful parent. Judith Ortiz Cover, a writer of great skill and intellect, comes to see who she is, and isn't, during an 18-day vigil at her mother's deathbed and the prayerful rituals that follow. Cofer says toward the end of the book, "Because I am dying, because we all are, I will claim my bit of grace, which I extract from my mother's gift of abundant grace, and which has propelled me through this story during the pruebas [trials] I was given by el destino, or perhaps just my luck--one of the lay definitions of grace is luck" (217).
Descansa en paz.