Linea Nigra: Book summary and reviews of Linea Nigra by Jazmina Barrera

Linea Nigra

An Essay on Pregnancy and Earthquakes

by Jazmina Barrera

Linea Nigra by Jazmina Barrera X
Linea Nigra by Jazmina Barrera
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  • Published May 2022
    184 pages
    Genre: Essays

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Book Summary

Part memoir and part manifesto, Barrera's singular insights, delivered in candid prose, clarify motherhood while also cherishing the mysteries of the body.

An intimate exploration of motherhood, Linea Nigra approaches the worries and joys of childbearing from a diverse range of inspirations and traditions, from Louise Bourgeois to Ursula K. Le Guin to the indigenous Nahua model Luz Jiménez.

Writing through her first pregnancy, birthing, breastfeeding, and young motherhood, Barrera embraces the subject fully, making lucid connections between maternity, earthquakes, lunar eclipses, and creative labor. Inspired by the author's own mother's painting practice, Linea Nigra concludes with an impassioned call: childbearing is art, and art is childbearing.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Barrera offers a moving study of pregnancy, family, art, and loss in this showstopping essay...Barrera's voice is meditative, bolstered by poetic turns of phrase, precise language, and fresh metaphors...This beautiful meditation is thick with profound insights." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Barrera communicates her trenchant observations in gorgeous, highly efficient prose that sharply reflects the fragmented reality of pregnancy and early parenthood. Rather than adhering to a traditional narrative structure, the author follows her trains of thought wherever they take her, and readers will be happy to tag along. A uniquely lyrical account of early motherhood." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A refreshingly different take on traditional what-to-expect titles for mothers-to-be." - Booklist

"This book is such a wonder and joy. I only wish it were a few thousand pages longer, so I could have the company of its intelligence and poetry for all the phases of my life." - Rivka Galchen, author of Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch

"In nuanced observation, and with enormous humor, [Barrera] shares how things and people can be known and understood, while allowing, as in life and death—for what can never be known, or understood." - Leanne Shapton, author of Guestbook

"Barrera writes unflinchingly about motherhood—the minutiae, the hours nursing, the desire to make art despite exhaustion, the stitches no one talks about, the violence and beauty of birth—and creates an unforgettable tapestry that feels at once poetic and urgent. Reading Linea Nigra, I felt like I was sitting around a wise woman circle, a little more of my mother and artist self revived with each passing page. I am grateful this beautiful book exists, stares without looking away, and offers to each of us the motherhood that mainstream society doesn't sell us. This is the real shit, and it is vital." - Chelsea Bieker, author of Godshot

This information about Linea Nigra was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Jazmina Barrera

Jazmina Barrera was born in Mexico City in 1988. She was a fellow at the Foundation for Mexican Letters. Her book of essays Cuerpo extraño (Foreign Body) was awarded the Latin American Voices prize from Literal Publishing in 2013. In 2020, Two Lines Press published her On Lighthouses in a translation from Christina MacSweeney. She has also published work in various print and digital media, such as Nexos, Este País, Dossier, Vice, El Malpensante, Letras Libres and Tierra Adentro. She has a Master's Degree in Creative Writing in Spanish from New York University, which she completed with the support of a Fulbright grant. She was a grantee of the Young Creators program at FONCA. She is editor and co-founder of Ediciones Antílope. She lives in Mexico City.

Christina MacSweeney received the 2016 Valle Inclan prize for her translation of Valeria Luiselli's The Story of My Teeth, and Among Strange Victims by Daniel Saldaña París was a finalist in the 2017 Best Translated Book Award. Among the other authors she has translated are: Elvira Navarro (A Working Woman, Rabbit Island), Verónica Gerber Bicecci (Empty Set, Palabras migrantes/Migrant Words), and Julián Herbert (Tomb Song, The House of the Pain of Others).

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