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"Paloma Negra," Ana Castillo's mother sings the day the daughter leaves home, "I don't know if I should curse you or pray for you."
Growing up as the intellectually spirited daughter of a Mexican Indian immigrant family during the 1970s, Castillo defied convention to find herself as a writer and a feminist. A generation later, her mother's crooning mariachi lyrics resonate once again. Castillonow an established Chicana novelist, playwright, and scholarwitnesses her own son's spiraling adulthood and eventual incarceration. Standing in the stifling courtroom, Castillo describes a scene that could be any mother's worst nightmare. But in a country of glaring and stacked statistics, it is a nightmare especially reserved for mothers like her: the inner-city mothers, the single mothers, the mothers of brown sons.
Black Doves: Essays on Mamá, Mi'jo, and Me looks at what it means to be a single, brown, feminist parent in a world of mass incarceration, racial profiling, and police brutality. Through startling humor and love, Castillo weaves intergenerational stories travelling from Mexico City to Chicago. And in doing so, she narrates some of America's most heated political debates and urgent social injustices through the oft-neglected lens of motherhood and family.
Ana Castillo is one of the most powerful voices in contemporary Chicana literature. She is the author ofSo Far From God and Sapogonia, both New York Times Notable Books of the Year, as well as theGuardians, Peel My Love like an Onion, and many other books of fiction, poetry, and essays. Her newest novel,Give It to Me won a 2014 LAMBDA Literary Award; her seminal collection, Massacre of the Dreamers: Essays on Xicanisma was re-released as a twentieth anniversary edition in November 2014; and the award-winningWatercolor Women, Opaque Men will be re-released in a new edition in the fall of