La Brega

La Brega Presents: Esmeralda Santiago on Language and History

The writer Esmeralda Santiago’s latest book, “Las Madres,” is an intergenerational story about Puerto Rico, our history, and what it means to remember it. She recently spoke with The New Yorker’s Vinson Cunningham in an episode for The New Yorker Radio Hour, and we thought La Brega listeners would appreciate hearing this conversation about language and the longing. In 2008, Santiago suffered a stroke and had to relearn how to read words using some of the same strategies she had used to first learn English after moving to the States. In “Las Madres” a character named Luz has a similar experience. “For me, Luz is almost representative of Puerto Rico itself. We have this very long history that we don’t necessarily have access to. . . . Those of us who live outside of the island, we live the history but we don’t really know it.”

You can find more of the The New Yorker Radio Hour from WNYC Studios here, or wherever you get podcasts.