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Mother Tongue

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  243 ratings  ·  21 reviews
"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,
ebook, 208 pages
Published May 5th 2010 by One World/Ballantine (first published January 1st 1990)
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score! 50c op shop find today.

Lyrical & poetic, it's like silk and barb wire caressing your heart. Brings to life the heartache of refugees from El Salvador and the war there in the 80's. Based partly on the authors experiences helping the underground railroad of refugees out of El Salvador, it's an easy and quick read. Contains poetry from various Latin Americans and is written via the voices of several characters and three generations and at it's heart is love and justice. Most of the deta
Πάνος Τουρλής
Ένα από τα ωραιότερα τρυφερά μυθιστορήματα που έχω διαβάσει. Έρωτας μεταξύ Μεξικάνας και πρόσφυγα του Ελ Σαλβαδόρ στις ΗΠΑ. Χωρίς πλοκή ιδιαίτερη, χωρίς ευθύγραμμη ροή, με αφηγήσεις της Μαίρης-Μαρίας, του πρόσφυγα, της φίλης τους και του γιου τους. Πώς γνωρίστηκαν, τι αισθάνθηκαν, πώς δόθηκαν ο ένας στις αγκαλιές του άλλου. Πώς αγαπήθηκαν, τι σημαίνει έρωτας και συναίσθημα για τον καθένα, τι αγώνα είχε η Μαρία να φέρει τον πρόσφυγα στην πραγματικότητα, να σταματήσει να φοβάται και να αγχώνεται κ ...more
I tried to find some redeeming features in this book, and I just couldn't. None. The narrator is absolutely insufferable. It's like reading 200 pages of a particularly delusional, self-obsessed teenage girl's diary- which is essentially what this novel is, except that Martinez is trying to use it as a vehicle for commenting on the El Salvadorian civil war and the treatment of refugees in the USA. Unfortunately, she doesn't actually gives the reader any information about those things except throu ...more
The Awdude
Mostly this book is about the El Salvadorian civil war, for the prolonged duration and extreme violence of which the U.S., of course, was primarily responsible. There's some nice prose here; by "some" I mean a little bit; and Martinez does bring genuine heart to such a heartbreaking subject, there's no doubt about that, but she also frames it in one of the sloppiest narratives that I've read in a long time. It's the story of a romantic idealist, Mary/Maria, who falls head over heels in love with ...more
Michael Blackmore
Despite a bit of a rough start I really enjoyed this book. I initially read it because it dealt with the turbulent times in the 1980s with the US supporting horrific acts by oppressive governments in parts of Central America (and supporting equally horrific terrorist groups in other parts) and the community of activists in the US working on solidarity issues.

The beginning was difficult because it was told through the eyes of a clearly troubled woman and the self involved nature of it caused it
May 10, 2007 suz rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fictional story of of characters strongly influenced by war-ravaged Central American country
Reviewer: John Phillips "johnphillips61" (Plano, TX USA)

You can tell the author is a poet. This story was beautifully written, insightful and certainly rang true. When I finished reading it I felt I had gained a new perspective about how it must be for people who have their homeland torn apart by war. They love their homes, so the answer isn't just fleeing to freedom and safety. For some, there just is no answer. This book turned on new lights for me and moved as well as frustrated me. We can't
Demetria Martinez is going to be my workshop instructor at the Wm. Joiner Center, so I was happy to be able to read a couple of her books in anticipation. This novel became more compelling to me the longer I read, as the young Chicana protagonist matures in spite of herself in the process of loving & losing a Salvadoran refugee being sheltered by the Sanctuary movement in the early 1980s. The story gains surprising depth & resonance--as I finished I felt exalted.

Martinez is a wonderful p
An excellent novella that poetically follows the romance, so to speak, of a young woman and the Salvadoran refugee she is hiding from the authorities. Well written, I really enjoyed it. Good for anyone interested in the turmoil of modern Centreal America, the Sanctuary Movement, and liberal movements of the time in the United States.
sweet sweet fast read ... she writes with her heart in her hand.

her stuff is very familiar, the fiction story is about a southwest chicana enamorada de un salvadoreno /perdida en el amor/ se encuentra after having a son and is on her own.

This book did spark interest in her poetry collection ..
It wasn't as bad as I expected. Easy to read and entertaining enough.
Kathryn Shumate
This book was amazing. True, there are parts I can't relate to, but there are so many I can. I read this book because it was assigned in my literature class. I'm so very grateful that it was. I would go so far to say that this is the best book I've read all year.
This book really helped me imagine life in the Southwest of the U.S. and how unofficial Central American refugees might feel when living in the U.S. undocumented. It was pretty romantic too!
Rus Funk
What a nice surprise! A fabulous and delicate story in and of itself but which also examines a the election Salvador civil war and the real cost in human terms. Read this one!
Mario Ascencio
I was disappointed with the first 100 pages. It dealt too much with the woman falling in love...yawn. Parts three, four, and five were much more interesting to me.
Eileen Sam
Super beautifully written and I like that it's kinda of like a political love story...excellent sensory detail of culture as well.
Read this if you seek a pulpy, feminine maturation tale. Mother Tongue explores love with spiritual and political grit.
Jun 11, 2008 Jenyne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sherry, Janice, and anyone interested in history
Recommended to Jenyne by: Stephanie
This is an incredible story about a refugee from El Salvador. It is in English and is beautifully written and desperately tragic.
Jan 26, 2009 Jana rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Marisol
Ah.. New Mexico, refugees from El Salvador, and the US Government all mixed in with a little Spanish flavor.
Good story and good intro to the civil war in el Salvador and the sanctuary movement.
Great love story! No happy ending but life isn't always full of them right?
Great commentary on the Salvadorian diaspora.
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