Many of the themes Cisneros writes about in her memoirs animate the pages of Martita, I Remember You, giving it the feel of lived experience ... Quiet truths fill the pages of the slender but memorable book ... As though seeded with landmines, the pages are filled with muted explosions of violence and pain ... As always, Cisneros is adept at describing the feelings, sensations, and pitfalls of young women’s lives ... To read this novella is to stumble upon gems ... Cisneros’s prose hums, filled with personification, metaphor, and allusion, crisscrossing from Paris to Chicago to Mexico. Her writing spans languages, continents, and time ... To borrow a phrase from Jorge Luis Borges, the negation of time is one of Cisneros’s obsessions, and it is difficult to think of another writer who crosses the porous border between past and present as poetically as she does ... a love letter to female friendship, whose brevity does nothing to detract from the importance of its subject matter or the sheer pleasure of devouring it.
... [a] welcome and vital return to fiction ... Every heart-revving scene is sensuously and incisively rendered, cohering into a vivid, tender, funny, bittersweet, and haunting episodic tale of peril, courage, concession, selfhood, and friendship. Cisneros’ intricately multidimensional and beautifully enveloping novella is presented in both English and Spanish.
The compression of the book — the tale is told twice in 128 pages — in no way deprives readers of a full experience ... It is difficult to think of a more fitting story for today than one that harks back to when women sought to make lives for themselves and had to survive all manner of obstacles. These were women who clung to each other and can perceive years later — even as their dreams have been deferred — that their full faith in the women who helped them along through the most uncertain of times was a kind of success, too.
... [a] beautiful remembrance of things past ... Cisneros draws upon her considerable talents as both a novelist/storyteller and a poet to expertly structure her novella, contrasting the joyful and carefree (or careless) nature of the youthful Puffina with the responsible, mature, almost stoic Corina, who is finishing the laborious task of stripping varnish in the Chicago apartment she shares with her husband, Richard, a man whom she loves but with whom she is not in love ... This bilingual edition sparkles with life even as it exudes the poignancy and bittersweet reminiscences of the dreams that eventually eluded Corina. Recommended for most fiction collections.
Tightly written, unfolding in a controlled spool of memory, the story is told in a combination of correspondence and narrative vignettes; its length is closer to that of a long short story but it works as a stand-alone volume, especially as it's paired with its Spanish version ... A tale both beautiful and brief.