Adopting a comparative and multidisciplinary approach to Puerto Rican literature, Marisel Moreno juxtaposes narratives by insular and U.S. Puerto Rican women authors in order to examine their convergences and divergences. By showing how these writers use the trope of family to question the tenets of racial and social harmony, an idealized past, and patriarchal authority that sustain the foundational myth of la gran familia, she argues that this metaphor constitutes an overlooked literary contact zone between narratives from both sides. Moreno proposes the recognition of a "transinsular" corpus to reflect the increasingly transnational character of the Puerto Rican population and addresses the need to broaden the literary canon in order to include the diaspora. Drawing on the fields of historiography, cultural studies, and gender studies, the author defies the tendency to examine these literary bodies independently of one another and therefore aims to present a more nuanced and holistic vision of this literature.
An insightful and original analysis of the literary works of Puerto Rican women writers from the island and the United States. The author aptly demonstrates that despite their differences in style and formation, these women writers are all tied by a shared historical memory and by cultural forces that have been shaped by the experiences of colonialism, migration, and gender and class oppression.
Family Matters offers us new readings of canonical texts, as well as lucid readings of forgotten or ignored texts, that, together, elucidate the commonalities between women writers across the charco (puddle) that divides the Island from the mainland.
Marisel C. Moreno is Assistant Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Notre Dame.