Recipient of the Louis Meriwether First Book Prize 2018
PRAISE FOR KNITTING THE FOG:
"In light of the current misunderstandings surrounding immigrants fleeing violence in Central America, this book should be required reading. The writing is fluid and lyrical and the story is relevant." —Mom Egg Review
“In Knitting the Fog, Hernández eloquently captures the hardship, joy, magic, and resilience of three generations of women enduring ‘the battles of this dream’—border after border—from the family home in Mayuelas, Guatemala, through the desert across the Río Bravo, to the streets of Los Angeles. Magnificent!” —Carol Potter, author of Some Slow Bees
“Knitting the Fog brings us the immigrant experience in a refreshingly new light. This memoir of hybrid forms—moving evocatively between poetry and prose—is not only timely but resonant in sense of place and purpose. How exciting that Hernández's voice joins the canon of contemporary Latina stories.” —Bridgett M. Davis, author of The World According to Fannie Davis
"This debut gives tender and keen insight into the experience of migrating north to the US and the challenges a preteen faces integrating into the 'Promised Land.'"
—Ana Castillo, author of Black Dove: Mamá, Mi'jo, and Me
"Part-torch song and part-excavation: a hybrid book of short nonfiction interlaced with poems that mirror the turbulent fog one must survive when they are a child who must keep going, despite it all. It is also a book of our times, a story of struggle and resilience, a warrior song that refuses to look or run away." —Melissa R. Sipin, editor in chief, TAYO Literary Magazine
“Claudia D. Hernández’s exquisite new memoir is a breathtaking read. Her raw honesty sings on the page with a kind of fiery joy and longing of what it means to be a family.”
—Kerry Madden, author of the Appalachian Maggie Valley Trilogy
"Knitting the Fog evokes the universal journey of identity that we all go through as people, immigrants, and artists. An inspirational gift." —Adrian Ernesto Cepeda, author of Flashes & Verses . . . Becoming Attractions
“In Knitting the Fog, each of Claudia D. Hernández’s memories is framed by the writer’s bilingual, bicultural childhood experiences at home . . . then reshaped by the poet’s struggle to survive in an alien environment in the US. This debut is so much more than an immigrant’s story. It is an ode to the resilience of the human spirit. A hymn to the power of poems and stories as agents of personal liberation and social change. In any language. Any culture. Anywhere in the world. ¡Brava, Claudia! ¡Otra, otra! Encore!” —Lucha Corpi, author of Confessions of a Book Burner: Personal Essays and Stories
“La Diablita, the tomboy, wrote these searingly honest, la verdad, stories of crossing to the other side from her beloved Guatemala to her now home, the USA. Poesía is also sprinkled throughout, her prayers. Listen, you’ll believe every word as La Diablita knits the fog beyond man-made borders. The fog is love.” —Alma Luz Villanueva, author of Song of the Golden Scorpion
“A timeless story, Knitting the Fog humanizes those who have migrated north since time immemorial, regardless of place. Hernández weaves the joys, travails, and intricacies of a journey that, like the fog, did not dissipate into the past, weaving instead revolutionary visions of growth, survival, and change. A must-read for all.” —Josie Méndez-Negrete, author of A Life on Hold: Living with Schizophrenia
"Claudia D. Hernández knits together so much in this necessary, unforgettable book—poetry and prose, Guatemala and El Norte, Spanish and English, innocence and awakening—blurring borders with humor and heartache and the richest, most vivid detail. Hernandez’s harrowing yet joy-laced journey will knit its way deeply into your heart."—Gayle Brandeis, author of The Art of Misdiagnosis: Surviving My Mother's Suicide.
"The title of Hernández's beautiful blend of essay and poetry comes from the poem at the center of the book, which lyrically captures the movement between lands, The soil knows no border. When their mother leaves Guatemala for a chance at survival in El Norte, four-year-old Claudia and her sisters are shuffled between their aunt in the pueblo of Tactic and their grandmother in Mayahuelas (their father barely makes an appearance) until their mother finally returns to take them with her to California. When the family returns to Guatemala for a reunion with the elder women, the book ends with a satisfying revelation. Hernández affectionately tells the tale of her childhood among a strong family of women in four narrative parts and in English prose laced with poetry in English, Spanish, and a bit of her indigenous language, Poqomchi. Each aspect of young Hernández's experiences will resonate with readers, but of particular note is her painful attempt to try to find her place in American public schools, in which she is bullied for her funny that is, non-Mexican Spanish accent."--Sara Martinez Copyright 2019 Booklist
Library Journal Review
Hernández's debut memoir dives deep into moments before, during, and after crossing into a new country in the life of a young immigrant. Here is truly a matriarchal story: the author's young existence is at once expanded and contained by her mother, aunt, grandmother, and two sisters. The female lineage and the women's survival is radiantly strong; the men, abusive or loving, fade into the background. Hernandez's hybrid style and focus on childhood (she writes about her girlhood and nascent adolescence for most of the book) draw readers into everyday surfaces where acculturation and defiance take place, such as the muddy riverbank in Tactic, Guatemala, as mango pits float by, and the oil-slicked blacktop in Cudahy, LA. Poems bubble up between playful and immersive prose chapters at key junctures in the journey to remind us that international borders are both less and more than just a line, and that resilient families won't be contained by political strictures. This story of women, children, immigration, and the Latinx diaspora is a critical contribution to multiple narrative realms. It shines for its genre experimentation and loyal specificity to one girl's experience. VERDICT YA readers might connect particularly well with Hernández's voice. For fans of Ocean Vuong, Junot Diaz, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.--Sierra Dickey, Ctr. for New Americans, Northampton, MA
Synopsis: A young Guatemalan immigrant’s adolescence is shaped by her journey to the US as she grapples with Chapina tradition and American culture. Claudia D. Hernández weaves together narrative essay and bilingual poetry in her Louise Meriwether First Book Prize winning debut KNITTING THE FOG!
Weaving together narrative essay and bilingual poetry, Claudia D. Hernández’s lyrical debut follows her tumultuous adolescence and fraught homecomings as she crisscrosses the American continent.
Seven-year-old Claudia wakes up one day to find her mother gone, having left for the United States to flee domestic abuse and pursue economic prosperity. Claudia and her two older sisters are taken in by their great aunt and their grandmother, their father no longer in the picture. Three years later, her mother returns for her daughters, and the family begins the month-long journey to El Norte. But in Los Angeles, Claudia has trouble assimilating: she doesn’t speak English, and her Spanish sticks out as “weird” in their primarily Mexican neighborhood. When her family returns to Guatemala years later, she is startled to find she no longer belongs there either.
A harrowing story told with the candid innocence of childhood, Hernández’s memoir depicts a complex self-portrait of the struggle and resilience inherent to immigration today.