This is a rarity in contemporary writing, a truly bilingual enterprise, as in Susana Chávez-Silverman’s previous memoir, Killer Crónicas. Chávez-Silverman switches between English and Spanish, creating a linguistic mestizaje that is still a surprise encounter in the world of letters today, and the author forms one of a small but growing band of writers to embrace bilingualism as a literary force. Also like Killer Crónicas, each chapter in Scenes from la Cuenca de Los Angeles is a “crónica,” a vignette that began as intimate diary entries and e-mails and letters to lovers, friends, and ghosts from the past. These episodic chapters follow the Chávez-Silverman’s personal history, from California to South Africa and Australia and back, from unfathomable loss to deeply felt joy. Readers drawn into this witty book will confront their own conceptions of boundaries, borders, languages, memories, and spaces.
Honorable Mention, Best Biography–Spanish or Bilingual International Latino Book Awards