Linea Nigra: An Essay on Pregnancy and Earthquakes


Product Details

$21.95  $20.41
Two Lines Press
Publish Date
5.0 X 8.1 X 0.7 inches | 0.7 pounds

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About the Author

Jazmina Barrera was born in Mexico City in 1988. She was a fellow at the Foundation for Mexican Letters. Her book of essays Cuerpo extraño (Foreign Body) was awarded the Latin American Voices prize from Literal Publishing in 2013. In 2020, Two Lines Press published her On Lighthouses in a translation from Christina MacSweeney. She has also published work in various print and digital media, such as Nexos, Este País, Dossier, Vice, El Malpensante, Letras Libres and Tierra Adentro. She has a Master's Degree in Creative Writing in Spanish from New York University, which she completed with the support of a Fulbright grant. She was a grantee of the Young Creators program at FONCA. She is editor and co-founder of Ediciones Antílope. She lives in Mexico City.
Christina MacSweeney has an MA in Literary Translation from the University of East Anglia. Her work has been recognized in a number of important awards. Her translation of Valeria Luiselli's The Story of My Teeth was awarded the 2016 Valle Inclán Translation Prize and also shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award (2017). Her most recent translations include fiction and nonfiction works by Daniel Saldaña París, Elvira Navarro, Verónica Gerber Bicecci, Julián Herbert, Jazmina Barrera, and Karla Suárez. She has also contributed to anthologies of Latin American literature and published translations, articles and interviews on a variety of platforms.


"Barrera offers a moving study of pregnancy, family, art, and loss in this showstopping essay...[her] voice is meditative, bolstered by poetic turns of phrase, precise language, and fresh metaphors. 'It's impossible to be original when you write about being a mother, ' Barrera reflects, though her own originality is striking. This beautiful meditation is thick with profound insights." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Barrera includes historical anecdotes and quotes from other women who have written about motherhood, childbirth, and pregnancy--from Mary Shelley and Natalia Ginzburg to Rivka Galchen and Maggie Nelson--and she argues that pregnancy is a fundamentally literary experience....Barrera communicates her trenchant observations in gorgeous, highly efficient prose that sharply reflects the fragmented reality of pregnancy and early parenthood. Rather than adhering to a traditional narrative structure, the author follows her trains of thought wherever they take her, and readers will be happy to tag along." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Part notebook, part audiovisual anthology, Barrera's hybrid essay Linea Nigra is not your typical book on motherhood. Instead it's a collection that serves as representation--a comprehensive 'compilation of images, citations, and references from women who have conceived of pregnancy, birth, and lactation through art and literature.'" --The Millions (Most Anticipated 2022)

"This book is such a wonder and joy. I only wish it were a few thousand pages longer, so I could have the company of its intelligence and poetry for all the phases of my life." --Rivka Galchen, author of Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch

"In nuanced observation, and with enormous humor, [Barrera] shares how things and people can be known and understood, while allowing, as in life and death-- for what can never be known, or understood." --Leanne Shapton, author of Guestbook

"Barrera writes unflinchingly about motherhood--the minutiae, the hours nursing, the desire to make art despite exhaustion, the stitches no one talks about, the violence and beauty of birth--and creates an unforgettable tapestry that feels at once poetic and urgent. Reading Linea Nigra, I felt like I was sitting around a wise woman circle, a little more of my mother and artist self revived with each passing page. I am grateful this beautiful book exists, stares without looking away, and offers to each of us the motherhood that mainstream society doesn't sell us. This is the real shit, and it is vital." --Chelsea Bieker, author of Godshot

"An absolutely perfect book about mothering, writing, dismantling literary form." --Madeleine Watts, author of The Inland Sea

"An amazing book that takes the topic of motherhood and, before the incredulous eyes of the reader, impregnates it with many other things: the body, the concept of individuality, illness, and emotional attachments." --Emiliano Monge, author of Among the Lost

"Linea Nigra is a rallying cry for motherhood to be taken seriously, for a maternal canon. In putting forth this rallying cry, Barrera also delivers a prime example of why one should exist." --Lauren Cocking, Leyendo Lat Am