5 July 2009

Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street, 1991

Esperanza Cordero is a young Mexican girl growing up in a 1960s Chicago tenement, not exactly on the wrong side of the tracks but poor nonetheless, and desolate Mango Street is the place she needs to escape from. This series of forty-six first-person vignettes captures defining moments and experiences often with pinpoint sharpness, and it’s also noticeable how the writing increases in sophistication as Esperanza becomes more mature, as her family and friends move on and her perception of her own young life becomes gradually more muted and melancholy under the gentle weight of added layers. A book that has sold three million copies worldwide, vibrantly written with prose that often captures the time and place with a near perfect clarity.  PY


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