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Mi María: Surviving the Storm: Voices from Puerto Rico.

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When Hurricane María made landfall in Puerto Rico in September 2017, it left no part of the archipelago unscathed. The hurricane triggered floods and mudslides, washed out roads, destroyed tens of thousands of homes, farms, and businesses, caused the largest blackout in US history, knocked out communications, led to widespread food, drinking water, and gasoline shortages, and caused thousands of deaths.

The seventeen oral histories collected in Mi María: Surviving the Storm share stories of surviving the storm and its long aftermath as people waited for relief and aid that rarely arrived. Zaira and her husband floated on a patched air mattress for sixteen hours while floodwaters rose around them. The road washed out in front of Emmanuel as he desperately tried to drive his pregnant wife who had begun labor to the hospital. Luis and his father anxiously counted the days that the dialysis clinic remained closed and lifesaving treatment was unavailable, while Miliana's mother was sent home from the hospital --undiagnosed-- only to fall critically ill in her own home.

Weaving together long-form oral histories and shorter testimonios, the book offers a multivocal peoples' history of disaster that fosters a greater understanding of the failures of governmental disaster response and the correlating perseverance of the people impacted by these failures, highlighting the colonial relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States. Ultimately, the ways in which these oral histories demonstrate the strength of community response to disaster in Puerto Rico are pertinent to other parts of the world that are being impacted by our current climate emergency.


ISBN-13: 9781642595796

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: Haymarket Books

Publication Date: 09-04-2021

Pages: 330

Product Dimensions: 8.40h x 5.40w x 0.80d

Series: Voice of Witness

Ricia Anne Chansky is Professor of literature at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. She is the co-editor of the scholarly journal, a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, a member of the Routledge Literature Portfolio of journals, and editor of the Routledge Auto/Biography Studies book series. Her book publications include the co-edited volumes: The Routledge Auto/Biography Studies Reader, a Routledge Literary Theory Reader (2016); Life Writing Outside the Lines: Gender and Genre in the Americas (Routledge, 2020); and, the forthcoming, The Untied States: Unraveling National Identity in the Twenty-First Century.

Marci Denesiuk holds an MA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. She is the author of Far Away Home and her published work has won awards and includes a book of short stories, as well as contributions to anthologies, magazines, web publications and newspapers. She currently teaches in the English Department of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez.