Entry Without Inspection

A Writer's Life in El Norte

Entry Without Inspection

A Writer's Life in El Norte

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Cecile Pineda-award-winning Chicana novelist, memoirist, theater director, performer, activist-felt rootless throughout much of her life. Her father was an undocumented Mexican immigrant, and her mother was a French-speaking immigrant from Switzerland. Pineda, born in New York City, felt culturally disconnected from both of her parents, while also ill at ease in U.S. culture. In her life, we see the strange intersection of immigrant politics, troubles with ethnic identity, and the instability of family ties.

In Entry Without Inspection, Pineda brings it all together, reconciling her past (much of which she had to piece together from vague memories and parental clues) while tracing how she formed her own identity through prose and theater in the absence of known roots. But as Pineda discovers, her life story doesn't belong solely to her but is interwoven with those of her families, whether biological or chosen, and of the world around her. Because of this, Pineda's memoir features parallel stories, that of her life running alongside and being informed by those of other immigrants.

Pineda traces her story while also documenting the work of the first whistleblower to reveal an immigrant death in detention, in 2009, with the storylines converging to reveal the lasting consequences of U.S. immigration policy. She explores the ripple effects of these policies over generations, revealing the shocking truths of marginalization and deportation. Pineda exposes both the cultural losses and the traumatic aftereffects of misguided U.S. immigration policy. Entry Without Inspection is a truly American story in all its historical and emotional complexity, one in which personal ethics and political commentary are necessarily and inextricably interwoven.

Cecile Pineda is a foundational voice in Latina/Latino literature. Every new book is cause for celebration. She is writing at full force. Read it.

—Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The House of Broken Angels

Timely, informative, and moving, this memoir that is 'more than a memoir' tells a complex story of immigration, migration, deracination, multiple kinds of separation, suppression, loneliness, and the necessity to improvise. . . . It is of interest to anyone involved with or passionate about the arts or deeply intrigued by the mysterious forces of creativity and the cultivation of an ethically engaged artistic vision.

—María de Guzmán, Eugene H. Falk Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Founding Director of the UNC Latina/o Studies Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Writers, readers, teachers, and creative writing classes, take note: Cecile Pineda is an American original, a literary treasure. . . . Her prodigiously inventive and important work deserves a place in the forefront of American literature.

—Jeff Biggers, Bloomsbury Review

About the Author/Editor

CECILE PINEDA is a professor emerita of English at San Diego State University. She is the founder, director, and producer of the Theatre of Man and the author of several books, including Face, Frieze, and The Love Queen of Amazon. Her novels have won numerous awards, including the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction, a Gold Medal from the Commonwealth Club of California, and a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship.