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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Behold the “dreamoir”–the details from the most malleable and revelatory portions of one’s dreams, catalogued in bold detail. Ortiz has created a new literary form, a parallel plane where the cast of characters are the people that occupied one’s waking life; Bruja is a narrative that’s equal parts delicate and bold, a literary adventure through the boundaries of memoir, wh ...more
Paperback, 234 pages
Published October 31st 2016 by Civil Coping Mechanisms
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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  154 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Megan O'Hara
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
My favorite part of this is the index of all the things she dreamed about, I want to keep a dream journal for this sole purpose but??? I'm lazy and I won't. Very weird and surreal to read a book written basically subconsciously. ...more
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essaymemoir
In Excavation, Wendy Ortiz gave us an amazing memoir of sexual awakening, becoming, and reclaiming power. In Hollywood Notebook, she gave us the "behind the scenes" journal entries and ephemera of her conscious mind from the era in which she wrote Excavation. Now with Bruja, we dive even further behind the scenes with a captain's log of her unconscious during that same time. It's a beautiful sequence for her three memoirs. I loved Bruja and I will follow Ortiz's writing anywhere. She is our best ...more
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
a memoir in formatted vignettes recounting the dreams of womanhood in the western united states: the northwest, the southwest, fabled lovers, real & imagined trysts, marriages, illnesses, murders, births; the sudden apparitions of those from the past and future, the anxieties of the body, the phantasmagoric hallucinations of daily life occurring in the dreamscape. this experiment in fantasy-diary-memoir, its themes and images and characters forever recurring and disappearing, portrays the absolu ...more
Kevin Catalano
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This fantastic "dreamoir" put me into Ortiz's subconscious where I experienced what it was like to bear witness to four years' worth of her dreams. What strange wonders there were to behold; what beautiful truths. ...more
Melissa Grunow
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Originally published at Coal Hill Review:

Wendy C. Ortiz’s Bruja is a collection of dream vignettes that pull us into a moment of life that is often unseen, and even more so, unspoken.

Each dream scene is written in language that is sharp, but not simple, as it shakes us awake to consider the implications of our own dreams. Is there more to life that what we know? What are the possibilities beyond our immediate awareness? Is there potential for hope, even i
Sara Habein
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How appropriate to finish this book on Halloween (and also its official release date).

This book easily disproves the commonly heard refrain that hearing about other people's dreams is boring. BRUJA is certainly not boring, and is instead a surreal trip through art, anxiety, motherhood, California, and more. I loved it.

Particularly amusing to me were dreams involving cats... My cat dreams are usually hella weird.

Fuller review to come (she says with optimism because I've been slow about review wri
Matt Lewis
Nov 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wendy C. Ortiz could be called a bruja in the sense that she is a conjurer, a master of creating an illusion of reality and interchanging it with fiction where she sees fit...

Read the rest here:
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Major mixed feelings about this book.

I loved the concept (a "dreamoir", which blurs the line between a dream journal and a memoir) and was there for it 100%.

That said... I did not enjoy reading it at all. I expected to, based on the glowing reviews and endorsements, but I didn't - not even for a minute.

The prose is clipped and objective, and there's no coherent narrative to speak of; either of those things on their own might be compelling, but the product of their blending was boring to the p
Feb 08, 2017 added it
Ortiz is in the midst of not just inviting us into whatever is evolving about her, but creating a uniquely separate body of work from much of what has preceded it.
Israel Perez
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Este libro no lo leí, lo seleccione ya que tengo una meta de lectura en esta pagina. El libro que leí proviene de un autor que todavía no lo a publicado, por favor hacer caso omiso a esta critica u opinión ya que me refiero a otro libro. El libro ODETH El despertar de la bruja, es un libro que es agradable de leer, cargada de aventura, fantasía , misticismo y personajes interesantes. El trama del libro en mi humilde opinión aunque te hace recordar obras previas, ciertas partes están cargadas de ...more
Don't judge this book by the cover. Parenthetically, the cover is an excellent piece of art work. The cover hints at a journey into the darkest corners of the dream world, while the book itself is not terrifying in any way.

I liked this a lot. The relaxed telling of somewhat disjointed dreams is quite refreshing and compelling. I've been inspired to start trying to record my own dreams, no matter how banal. And I find I'm stealing her approach and candor.

That said, I don't know how many stars to
Julia Glassman
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Like an abstract painting or collage, this book will offer something slightly different to each reader. I was struck by the repetition of water, pregnancy, and animals (especially cats), and I wonder which themes and motifs stood out to other readers. We're left to wonder what happened in Ortiz's life to prompt these dreams, and that makes the narrative all the more fascinating. This isn't a book that you want to pick apart or try to make sense of; instead, let it wash over you. ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love the way this book moves. The prose carried me along for the first 60 pages (astonishing, considering that I a dreadfully impatient reader for the most part) and then the details began to accumulate stunning emotional significance through repetition - the people, the themes, they resonate deeply even as the essays elide into one another, fold, collapse, jump in a non-linear fashion.

I absolutely love this book.
Howard Parsons
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
i ~literally~ couldn’t put this down.
David Rice
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
engrossing, compelling, hypnotic
Sosa Coleone
Aug 09, 2020 rated it did not like it
Your rash of flees
Jan 09, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: nhhp, novel
Dream noir brings in animals, old lovers, mothers, attempted murder, drunk fathers, mayhem, dolphins, theater, birthdays, and swimming pools into a meandering and psychedelic structure.
Joseph Delgado
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wendy is my spirit guide after reading this beautiful, astonishing dreamoir hybrid poetry documenta. Fantastic.
Leia Penina
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Yes. Absolutely love.
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reading this book put me in a dream state, as though anything weird could happen then disappear.
Susan Eubank
Here are the questions and a little more that we discussed during the Reading the Western Landscape Book Club done through email for the Arboretum Library of the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden on Wednesday, April 29, 2019:
(view spoiler)
I am often unsatisfied or disappointed with memoirs. This is because I usually can't help but notice, then fixate, on what is missing or left out of the narrative. I find myself constantly trying to peek around the edges of the narrative for what is not there.

Perhaps this is why I enjoyed Bruja so much. In this dreamoir, Ortiz seems to begin by pulling back the edges of "veracity" and "narrative" and gives the reader all that is so frequently left out of memoir. As if in a dream, I was transpor
Nina Rota
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This dreamoir is the parallel universe missing from the conscious daytime state found in most memoirs. Here is a place where bears whisper to each other, you can kill your mother as often as you like, and marrying Arnold Schwarzenegger is a possibility. Wendy C. Ortiz’ subconscious bypasses the pain and fear of suppression and seeps into her dreams revealing the truths that drive her. There’s nowhere to hide and the result is required reading.
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2016
Behold the dream memoir! An autobiography of the subconscious! A surrealist self-portrait! A diaphanous narrative of sex and love and magick and family! Violent and vulnerable! Beguiling and brave! As beautiful as its cover (by a different Wendy Ortiz!) and twice as enchanting!
Jan 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Such a cool way to build a memoir... There was such an intimacy created in knowing Ortiz's dreams; it felt almost more personal than a memoir. ...more
Jan Stinchcomb
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am grateful to Wendy for developing a new form at a time when we all need to dream and to trust the unconscious. There is so much I could say, but know this: all of life is in this little book.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
I am really excited to read this one!
Thim Sagefjord
rated it did not like it
Aug 12, 2018
rated it really liked it
Jul 24, 2018
rated it really liked it
Nov 29, 2017
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Wendy C. Ortiz is the author of Excavation: A Memoir (Future Tense Books, 2014), Hollywood Notebook (Writ Large Press, 2015), and the dreamoir Bruja (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016). In 2016 Bustle named her one of “9 Women Writers Who Are Breaking New Nonfiction Territory.” Her work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, The Rumpus, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the National Book Criti


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