Far from my Mother’s Home. By Bárbara Mujica. E.L. Doctorow-award-winning stories of cross-cultural perspectives. ISBN: 978-0915745-28-9       $23.95

La Mujer Latina Series

This is an award-winning anthology of short stories by the author of the novel The Deaths of Don Bernardo (Floricanto Press, 1989). Mario Bencastro, from The Washington Review says that "Bárbara Mujica narrates with singular mastery and luxury of detail, creating characters that are both remarkable and familiar... [She] has succeeded in transcending the narrative itself in order to convey emotions and exalt human values."

 

Far from My Mother's Home is Bárbara Mujica’s collection of stories were written during the decade prior to the publication of her novel, The Deaths of Don Bernado. These tales are truly dramatic and perfectly conceived with respect to form and content. The themes are modern and pertinent. The action is encased in a viv­id realism that creates a certain visual quality. The situations, which are both specific and universal, are brought to life through an abundant and direct lan­guage. It is as though the writer were moved by a keen desire to show us each predicament from all angles.

In Far from My Mother's Home Bárbara Mujica examines the realities of highly mobile societies in which individuals or even entire populations move from one locale to another either to escape danger or to seek solutions to problems. Nearly all of her characters are in one way or another torn from their familiar surroundings—their “mothers' homes.” Some, such as Doña Francisca (“Francisca's Friends”), are strangers in their own lands, isolated by circumstances. The exploration of the different ways in which these characters relate to each other and to the demands of their environment pro­vides a unifying thread.

Bárbara Mujica is fascinated by the interplay of cultures in the Americas, and believes this theme to be a constant in nearly all her writings: “Perhaps, because I myself am a member of a multiethnic family, I am in­tensely aware of how people of different cultures interrelate and how cultural biases prevent us from understanding one another…”     Mario Bencastro

 Far from My Mother's Home is Bárbara Mujica’s collection of stories written during the decade prior to the publication of  The Deaths of Don Bernado. Therefore, they offer the reader a glimpse of the development of certain aesthetic and conceptual elements that bore fruit in the novel. For example, in these stories we see a growing concern for the ways that different ethnic groups interact. Like the novel, many of these stories are constructed upon a multicultural perspectivism in which persons from different ethnic and social groups—Hispanics, Americans; whites, Indians; landowners, peasants—react to a single circumstance in diverse ways because of their particular cultural outlooks. Furthermore, in both her novel and her stories, Bárbara Mujica uses humor to emphasize the absurdity of the dilemmas that result from our intransigence in ethnic (and other) matters.


“‘Gotlib, Bombero,’ a stunningly successful story by Barbara Mujica, recounts the efforts of Emesto Gotlib, a Chilean-born Jew, to be accepted by his Latin American peers . . . It is a tribute to Mujica’s talent as a storyteller and a writer that the reader fully shares in Gotlib’s anguish.”
Abigail Davis, “The Bloomsbury Review”

“Bárbara Mujica narrates with a singular mastery and luxury of detail, creating characters that are both remarkable and familiar... [She] has succeeded in transcending the narrative itself in order to convey profound emotions and to exalt human values.”
Mario Bencastro, “The Washington Review”

“Bárbara Mujica has a natural narrative talent. She narrates from the gut, from the inside, with a curious eye and great dramatic power, stories of worlds that collide and disconnect.”
Jorge Edwards, Author of “Persona Non Grata”

“Barbara Mujica’s extraordinary stories transport the reader into a landscape of colorful and extravagant characters whose lacerated histories become very much our own. Mujica reveals a hybrid world—the North American and the Latin American mysteriously connected and populated by the ghosts of common ancestors. Mujica is indeed a remarkable storyteller.”
Marjorie Agosín, Wellesley College, Author of “Circles of Madness and Scraps of Life”

[About Sánchez across the Street] The author treats [serious issues] with a disarmingly light touch which effectively brings out the underlying message... The style is clear and direct and Mujica succeeds in establishing a comfortable rapport with the reader... These compelling stories capture the pathos and the humor of the human struggle to adapt and survive.
Dawn Smith, Trent University. Canada, “Américas Magazine”

Barbara Mujica is a novelist, short story writer, and essayist. Her novel Frida was an international bestseller that appeared in seventeen languages and was a Book-of-the-Month alternate. Her novel Sister Teresa was adapted for the stage by Coco Blignaut of the Actors’ Studio in Los Angeles. The play premiered in November 2013 and is currently touring. Her latest novel, I Am Venus, was a winner of the Maryland Writers’ Association fiction competition in the category Historical Fiction in 2012. Recently her story “Gotlib Bombero” was adapted for the stage by Ronda Spinak, of the Jewish Women’s Theater in Los Angeles. Mujica has also won several prizes for her short fiction, including the E. L. Doctorow International Fiction Competition, the Pangolin Prize, and the Theodore Christian Hoepfner Award for short fiction. She won the Maryland Writers’ Association National Fiction Competition 2012, 2015, and 2016; her story “Jason’s Cap” won first prize in the 2015 “Ox” won second in 2016. Mujica is a professor of early modern Spanish literature at Georgetown University. She is also faculty adviser of the GU Student Veterans Association and co-chair of the Veterans Support Team. Her articles on veterans’ issues have appeared in numerous publications. 978-0-915745-28-9

            In her first novel, The Deaths of Don Bernardo (Floricanto Press, 1990), Bárbara Mujica reveals an impressive ability to conceive characters that are so convincing and realistic that they prove unforgettable. Her writing achieves verbal quality through the accumulation of physical and emotional details. More than simply recreating a particular circumstance or presenting a point of view, Bárbara Mujica tells her story with the magnetism and flair of an old-fashioned story-teller.