4.5.10 Sister Act
I grew up in a bilingual family, speaking English generously peppered with Spanish. Although we all spent time living in Mexico and Spain, somehow I am the only one who ended up with a Castilian accent. Born to a Chicana teacher and a Jewish professor of Spanish literature, it makes sense that both of my sisters work in bilingual education of one sort or another. (I am the anomaly.) We are three daughters, linked by blood and by our inherited passion for language. My sister Susi (Susana Chávez-Silverman) has just published her second memoir, Scenes from La Cuenca de Los Angeles y Otros Natural Disasters.
Like her first one, Killer Crónicas, published in 2004, it is written in its own unique back-&-forth between English and Spanish—what she refers to as "code-switching," and others have called Spanglish. Each chapter is a “crónica,” an episode culled from diary entries and letters that trace her journey from California to South Africa to Australia and back. The prose crackles, as full of quirky charm and deep insights as my beautiful sister. I hope you get a chance to lose (and find) yourself in her lyrical writing.