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BOOK OF THE MONTH: THE CRUEL COUNTRY by Judith Ortiz Cofer (Blog Tour & Giveaway)

The Latina Book Club is proud to be part of Judith Ortiz Cofer’s blog tour for this extraordinary and poignant memoir.  
We just had to make it our May Book of the Month, especially with Mother's Day just days away.  
We wish Judith all the best and want to offer her our deepest sympathy on the loss of her mother.  
And to our Dear Readers, Happy Mother's Day to you and yours.

GIVEAWAY:  Please leave a comment on this blog post or on our Twitter page, and you will be entered to win a copy of THE CRUEL COUNTRY.  Continental residents only.

University of Georgia Press
"I came home to face the heretofore unacknowledged fact that death is not a surprise; death is the given.” – Judith Ortiz Cofer

Emotional. Honest. Heartbreaking.

Readers will cry and marvel at this well-written, well-documented journal of grief.  Author Judith Ortiz Cofer is known for the candor in her writing, but this memoir is more personal.  THE CRUEL COUNTRY is her private struggle to come to terms with her mother’s death.

When Judith learns that her mother’s death is imminent, she rushes to Puerto Rico to be at her side like a good daughter.  There sitting by her mother’s deathbed, Judith is engulfed with all sorts of feelings – love, regret, fear, guilt, loneliness.  Memories rush at her from all sides – good, bad, ugly --, and as Judith wades through them so does the reader.

After the funeral, Judith returns to her life a lost child -- defenseless, lonely, full of fear, full of grief.  She finds a great “hueco” within – a great hole – that nothing seems to penetrate it or to fill it.  While some may try to fill this hueco with work, family, events, Judith fills it with words, but writing is not so easy when one is writing about one’s mother; about the estrangement between them; about the helplessness against death; about being alone and still uncomfortable straddling two worlds.

I thank Judith Ortiz Cofer for sharing her story with me.  I send her a heart-felt abrazo (hug) from one motherless daughter to another.  Like Judith, I too have learned that all anyone can do after the loss of a parent is to cherish the memories; forget the regrets; and, take life one day at a time.#

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Judith Ortiz Cofer is the Regents’ and Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing Emerita at the University of Georgia. She is also the author of THE LATIN DELI: Telling the Lives of Barrio Women; AN ISLAND LIKE YOU: Stories of the Barrio; WOMAN IN FRONT OF THE SUN: On Becoming a Writer; and many other books. The University of Georgia Press published her first novel, THE LINE OF THE SUN, in 1989.  Visit her website at

REMINDER:  The Latina Book Club is giving away a copy of THE CRUEL COUNTRY.  Leave a comment here on this post or on our Twitter page, @latinabookclub.  Good luck.


Unknown said…
I am looking forward to Judith's first book in a while. It sounds heart wrenching but as we all face the prospect of the death of an elder, this is a dialog we need to have. I add my condolences to Judith and wish her well in the rest of her journey. Can't wait to attend the book discussion.
Unknown said…
I am interested in reading the book and would love a copy.
Unknown said…
I cried, shivered, laughed, and marveled my way through The Cruel Country in two days at the beach. I had set it aside to read there, in beauty and relative solitude. I read many parts aloud to my husband. Cofer's gift for portraying the most intense, as well as the seemingly insignificant, moments of her life make this book a blessing for anyone who reads it. Anyone with a mother. Anyone who experiences cultural duality. Anyone who has rejected religion and is surprised to find a spiritual connection. Anyone.

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Unknown said…
"I came home to face the heretofore unacknowledged fact that death is not a surprise; death is the given.” – Judith Ortiz Cofer

This great quote in the blog post alone makes me want to read this memoir.

Native NYer said…
Congratulations! You have won a copy of The Cruel Country. Please email us directly and send us your mailing address so we may send you a book. Email us at: