National Book Critic Circle Honors Author Reyna Grande

Reyna Grande

Reyna Grande

For the past few months, one of our favorite titles for Campus/Freshman Reads programs, as well as One City, One Book events, has been Reyna Grande’s, The Distance Between Us.  This is Reyna’s third published work, and though she’s a well-known and highly regarded Latina author, her work hasn’t gotten the broader attention we think it deserves. But that’s about to change with the recent announcement of this year’s shortlist for the National Book Critics Circle Awards, which includes, The Distance Between Us.

This is a brutally honest memoir of a family fracturing under both the flaws in America’s immigration system and the flaws within themselves. Born in Mexico, Reyna was two years old when her father left for the U.S. to find work. Her mother followed him north two years later, leaving Reyna and her siblings behind in Mexico. In America, her father’s flaws undermined his efforts to give Reyna and her siblings a better life. Alcoholism and rage turned their home violent. Reyna found escape through books and writing, eventually becoming the first person in her family to graduate college.

Reyna’s story and perspective are crucially important today, especially with the current political debate. She gives voice not only to Hispanic experiences, but also speaks to the hopes, struggles, sorrows, and will power experienced by immigrants of all ethnic backgrounds.

Full of “teachable moments”, cultural insights, discussion topics, and creative programming opportunities, The Distance Between Us happens to also be a straight-forward telling of an action-packed story that keeps most readers turning the pages until they’ve finished. It’s simple language and exciting pace make this a book that will hold the interest of men, students, and readers of all ages and stripes.

The winners of one of the NBCC Awards, which is perhaps the US’s most prestigious literary prize, will be announced on February 28, 2013, in New York City.

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