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Paperback Mother Tongue Book

ISBN: 0345416562

ISBN13: 9780345416568

Mother Tongue

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Like New

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Book Overview

"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 Jos Luis enters her life. A refugee from El Salvador and its bloody civil war, Jos has been smuggled to the United States as part of the sanctuary movement...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

This story gets in your spirit

I read this book because I wanted to learn more about the survivors of El Salvador's civil war. I went to El Salvador in 2006 and heard stories of massacres and slaughters that defy description. Perhaps that is why this novel resonates with me so deeply. The novel is about a young American woman who falls in love with a Salvadorean man who has fled the killings. He can not tell her certain aspects of his past, but "Jose Luis" wears his pain in his eyes, and in the cigarette burns on his back from being tortured. Demetria Martinez writes with passion and beautiful metaphors. This story pierced my heart with the sharp edges of it's passion and sorrow, and I can honestly tell you it is a novel that I will never forget.

Romance, Politics, and Imagination combined

This novel brings romance, politics, and a fantastic imagination together. You are drawn into this novel and it almost feels as if you are right in the midst of it all. The characters are described in such detail that you can see their faces in your mind. It is a semi-easy read and is not too long or not too short of a book, it keeps your attention and you don't want to put it down. The mixture of romance and politics is a combination that goes well together in this novel. Demetria combines reality with fantasy and she does it very well as she puts all the characters and the parts they play together. Maria and Jose Luis are perfect, they are both struggling and fighting their own wars, in their hearts and in reality and the fantasy they have made amongst themselves and in their relationship sustains them through the rough patches. This is a novel that is definately worth reading.

Perspective Shifted

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 just save the world with our wealth and generosity, as such actions are viewed by so many good and honest people as signs of arrogance and naivety. I enjoyed the closure the author proveded with the epilogue (after all, it was in part, a love story), but in reality the fugitive's fate probably would remain a mystery. This is a wonderful book, a keeper.

Political torture and the fight against it

In Martinez's book we find that the character that has suffered political torture and extreme punishment for his beliefs is not able to truly give of himself that which has been taken away from him. Yet, as it often the case in human life a second chance comes and a new life comes of it, free to see life in a new way and to maintain the vigil for human rights and for the survival of the planet as well. I particularly loved the description of the sorrounding area where the two main characters fall in love. Good book.


The characters of Maria & JoseLuis were well written. You could feel the emotional anguish of Maria and the physical pain of Jose. Its rare to read a novel portraying 2 hispanics in non-stereotypical roles. I applaud writer Demetria and hope to read more of her novels.
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