El deli latino

Title Details

Pages: 200

Trim size: 5.500in x 8.500in



Pub Date: 09/01/2006

ISBN: 9-780-8203-2840-9

List Price: $21.95

El deli latino

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  • Description
  • Reviews

This is a Spanish-language edition of The Latin Deli, Judith Ortiz Cofer's prizewinning collection of short stories, personal essays, and poems. A work rich in longing, love, and remembrance, El deli latino opens a door into the lives of the Puerto Rican immigrants who live in or near an urban New Jersey tenement known as "El Building." The book was selected by Rita Dove, Ashley Montague, and Henry Louis Gates Jr. to receive the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, which recognizes work that has made "important contributions to our understanding of racism or our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures."

In the poem from which the book takes its title, a "woman of no-age" presides over a small store whose wares—Bustelo coffee, jamón y queso, "green plantains hanging in stalks like votive offerings"—must satisfy, however imperfectly, those who hunger for their island home. In the story "Nada," an anguished mother whose son has been killed in Vietnam refuses the consolation of her neighbors and the medals offered by the government ("Tell the Mr. President of the United States what I say: No, gracias."). Cofer's essay "The Paterson Public Library" recalls how, in books, she found refuge and solace from the outside world.

El deli latino transcends the particulars of the expatriate experience to speak universal truths about the mysteries of desire, the quest for knowledge, and the struggle to reconcile opposing selves.

Cofer may well be the most important Hispanic writer in English today, the one who will happily leave behind ethnic writing to insert herself and her successors in a truly universal literature.

—Ilan Stavans, In These Times

Graceful, generous, and important.

—Mary Oliver

Cofer is a superb storyteller. There is still much to be learned about women’s lives and about multiculturalism, and Cofer offers particular insights in both these areas.

—Kathleen Aguero

A flawless collection.

Seattle Weekly

Cofer continues her strongly dramatic and beautifully lyric unfolding of the Puerto Rican immigrant. Pungent, evocative, and warmly sympathetic, The Latin Deli is a continuous delight.

—Fred Chappell

A delicious smorgasbord of the sights, smells, tastes, and sounds recalled from a cross cultural girlhood.


A compassionate, delicate rendering of Puerto Rican life in America–told in poetry and fifteen short stories. . . . With the poetry accenting and enhancing themes revealed in the prose: a remarkably cohesive, moving collection.

Kirkus Reviews

About the Author/Editor

JUDITH ORTIZ COFER (1952–2016) was the Regents’ and Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing Emerita at the University of Georgia. She is also the author of The Latin Deli: Telling the Lives of Barrio Women, An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio, Woman in Front of the Sun: On Becoming a Writer; and many other books. The University of Georgia Press published her first novel, The Line of the Sun, in 1989.