Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June 15: Ana Castillo (b. 1953)

[Visual description: book cover for "Peel My Love Like an Onion" by Ana Castillo; a woman's face in flamenco-dancing costume is partly hidden by a fan]

"A friend suggested that I see a doctor, as if a doctor could give me a new leg, another spine, make me fifteen years younger. The doctor sent me to a therapist who then advised me to take a ceramics course at City College to channel all that creative fire burning inside me."

--Carmen Santos, the narrating character in Ana Castillo's Peel My Love Like an Onion (1999)

American novelist Ana Castillo was born on this date in 1953, in Chicago. Her character Carmen "la Coja" Santos or "the cripple" (Carmen la Coja is the Spanish title of the novel) is also born in Chicago in the 1950s, and survives a childhood bout with polio to become a "gimp flamenco dancer." In her forties, a series of setbacks including post-polio symptoms sets the character on a mid-life project of resetting priorities. More here about the "trope of disability" in Castillo's novel and others.

See also:
Suzanne Bost, EncarnaciĆ³n: Illness and Body Politics in Chicana Feminist Literature (Fordham University Press 2009).

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