Mother Tongue

Mother Tongue

by Demetria Martínez


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"It is a great beauty of a book, and I am so proud of you for standing with and for the disappeared. A sister, a lover, a witness."
—Alice Walker

Mary is nineteen and living alone in Albuquerque. Adrift in the wake of her mother's death, she longs for something meaningful to take her over. Then José Luis enters her life. A refugee from El Salvador and its bloody civil war, José has been smuggled to the United States as part of the sanctuary movement.

Mary cannot help but fall in love with the movement and the man. And little by little, she begins to reveal to José Luis the part of herself she has never known. . . .

"A book that becomes more timely every day, in our present political climate, and deserves the widest possible audience for its beautiful prose and humanitarian heart."
—Barbara Kingsolver

"Demetria Martínez has pulled out all the stops: here is truth to arouse any hardened heart; here is the 'insanity' of a woman in love calling forth a revolutionary lucidity. Read it. Get angry. And act."
—Luis J. Rodríguez, Author of Always Running

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345416568
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/28/1997
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 331,431
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Demetria Martinez is the author of the widely translated novel Mother Tongue, which won a Western States Book Award for Fiction. Martinez also wrote The Block Captain’s Daughter, which won an American Book Award and the International Latino Book Award for best Latino Focused Fiction. She co-authored an ebook with former Oklahoma Senator Fred Harris, These People Want to Work: Immigration Reform. Her collection of autobiographical essays, Confessions of a Berlitz-Tape Chicana, includes columns that originally appeared in the National Catholic Reporter. In addition to writing, she is also an activist, creativity coach, and journalist based in New Mexico.

Read an Excerpt

Remember us after we are gone. Don’t forget us. Conjure up our faces and our words. Our image will be as a tear in the hearts of those who want to remember us.

Excerpted from "Mother Tongue"
by .
Copyright © 1997 Demetria Martinez.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

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Mother Tongue 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is written as a gathering of journal entries, poems, grocery lists, newspaper articles, etc., as a middle aged woman looking back at her younger days - love, smuggling refugees, domestic violence, sexual abuse... The work reads more like a poem throughout, and some of the lines are so emotive that I found myself rereading them over and over again... One line said the rain sounded like pinon nuts being poured into a mason jar... Isn't that just amazing?
rachelprz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If only more people could understand what the U.S. has done to El Salvador, maybe then they'd show more caring and understanding to the people from El Salvador.
Two2dogs More than 1 year ago
good book, years ago when I was a college student in the 1970's I met a girl from El Salvador, she told me some awful stories about what was happening in her Country, this book reminded me of that time and her stories, highly recommend this book
Pablito More than 1 year ago
Demetria Martinez writes with great skill and a wide-open heart. It takes courage to write like this. I will never forget Mary / María and José Luia.