Published April 2, 2019.
The Native Country of a Heart - A Geography of Desire began with the scribbling of a middle-aged daughter, in awe and broken-hearted wonder, documenting the last years of her mother’s life with Alzheimer’s. But in that microcosm of her mother’s private amnesia, Cherríe Moraga uncovered the remnants of the grand story of a people. Hers is a Mexican pueblo and an American story of loss: the loss of land, the loss of language, the loss of history; and most critically, the loss of the memory of loss itself.
In this literary, political and contemplative memoir, Moraga revisits the sore spots of her past in the definitive effort to make peace with them; to understand as she writes, “within the context of [her] ethnicity and culture, what Mexican & American/ Indian & Catholic/ rape & racism had to do with sexual desire and a contrary gender.” These are not new themes for Moraga, first introduced in her now classic work, Loving in the War Years, nearly thirty-five years ago. What is new is Moraga’s firm grasp on the ‘old,’ which finds its spiritual and political grounding in an indigenous recollection of land/geography/place.