Deena Metzger's latest novel:
La Negra y Blanca: Fugue and Commentary
La Negra y Blanca is the crowning achievement of Deena Metzger's lifetime as a novelist, poet, and playwright. On the surface, it is a meditation on memory as the narrator pieces together the bright flashes of images of her life recalled, piecing them together with the intention of creating a healing matrix that reflects a life lived in search of meaning.
On a deeper level, it weaves in the history and tragedy of the Conquest's ongoing political and environmental effects on Latin America through the narrator's relationship with Victor Perera, a Guatemalan-American writer and journalist who documented the destruction of the native Lacandon tribe of Guatemala by imperialistic forces. We become acquainted with La Negra, a mysterious woman who is pregnant, but who will not give birth to her child until the world is safe enough for its continued existence, and who is the centerpiece character of a natural world struggling to survive and maintain its integrity in the midst of industrialization and the decimation of the sacred forests.
Deena Metzger has created a complex novel that weaves the personal, political, global and spiritual threads of her life into a tapestry of beauty, sorrow, transcendence, and ultimately, the assurance of a world renewed by the unwavering examination of all of its component parts to create a path to a future that promises reverence for all life.
Praise for La Negra y Blanca
Deena Deena Metzger has used her skills as poet to
understand the end of Victor Perera’s life. Does the universe and time work in
such a way that our lives encircle one another's forever? As we read La
Negra y Blanca, the contemporary and the mythic, our selves and our
ancestors, miraculously join.
Maxine Hong Kingston
author of I Love a Broad Margin To My Life
Deena Metzger's La Negra y Blanca flows into
readers like a breeze from the Guatemalan highlands, inspiring with its vast,
cosmic perspectives, and chilling in its unwavering honesty. The book maintains
a natural balance between darkness and light, real and imagined memories, the
waking state and dreams; sweeping us through an inner portal into what ancient
Maya called Xibalba, the "place of awe," the underlying source of
creation. The text's profound humility draws us into intimate appreciation for
wildly diverse human expressions: politically engaged intellectuals with roots
in Medieval Spain, extraordinary Latin American women whose lives unfold as
spontaneous extensions of natural forces, and a narrative voice resonating with
unrelenting love. One feels drawn reflexively into reverential regard for the
living world and immersed in the acquired wisdom of experiential spirituality. I
have been uplifted.
author of The Mystery of 2012: Predictions, Prophecies, and Possibilities
Many meetings weave in and out of this splendid,
heartbreaking novel. Meetings of multiple Americas, meetings between the living
and the dead, meetings where dreams and reality, history and pain, deception and
hope, intersect. But above all, what we meet in La Negra y Blanca
is a ravishing wager that words can still birth us into the puzzle of existence,
that we can all be mothers to one another as the storm approaches. Perhaps her
best (and strangest) novel.
author of Death and the Maiden
This brave and heartrending novel reaches out to the soul,
leads us through the traumas of history and weaves together in its characters
the dialectic of past and present that marks us all. Metzger illuminates
the heritage each of us bears of the sorrows of Conquest and the poignancy of
survival. La Negra y Blanca movingly depicts the price we pay for
our too-large footprint on this earth and invites us to awaken and reach for a
harmony with one another and a universe that has given us life. A splendid
Nancy Caro Hollancer
author of Uprooted Minds: Surviving the Politics of Terror in the Americas
Deena Metzger has written a novel of great beauty, power and wisdom. It is a
border-erasing, culture-leaping, time-and-space shattering inquiry into the re-visioned
lives of Guatemalan-American writer Victor Perera, novelist and once Vice
President of Guatemala Mario Monteforte Toledo and his daughter Morena, whose
mother was a Tz’utujil Indian. Told from the perspective of
the America writer Blanca (who the reader assumes is a fictional incarnation of
the author), the novel follows the ripple effects of indigenous Latin America's
conquest by Spain into contemporary reconquests of the region by dictatorship
and imperial power, and on into the inter-woven lives of its protagonists living
in both the U.S. and Guatemala. It is a meditation on memory
historical and personal
part vision quest, part detective novel. It
bears witness to great historical and personal tragedy, to fraught relationships
conditioned by politics, ethnicity and gender, to courageous resistance of
spirit and creative genius in the face of injustice. It summons past and future
into a shimmering invention of a present that is an act of love.
Robert David Cohen
U.S.- and Latin America-based American poet, journalist and former U.N. official
This beautiful book is not so much a novel as it is an
exquisite tapestry, threads woven of word and spirit, blood and bone and heart.
It is a complex weaving of fact and fiction; "realism" and the more-than-real,
of the deep sorrow and rage of a violated land and violated peoples; and most of
all, love. This book, this tapestry, will help us unweave the threads of this
culture's ensnaring and near-total destructiveness, and will help us went our
way back into the fabric of all life.
author of A Language Older Than Words
This is a narrative of conquest and hope, domination and
flight, surrender and transcendence. Wisdom leaks through misty realms between
memory and imagination. Each character embodies the whole of the world. Divided
by bloodlines, class, history and politics, all unite in a pilgrimage of hope.
If ever I am headed to the afterworld and allowed to bring just one book,
La Negra y Blanca would be the one.
author of Psyche's Veil: Psychotherapy, Fractals and Complexity
An extraordinarily original, complex and beautiful novel
that weaves the work of a witness into a haunting narrative founded on a
stunning insight: without the capacity to imagine what is culturally alien to
us, we cannot document and comprehend what Victor Perera calls "the unfinished
Conquest." Perera, the Guatemalan journalist and essayist, is the narrator's
central dialogue partner in her journey through the hell of recent Latin
American history: he was her friend in real life and becomes her posthumous
guide in the real of the spirit that the novel substantiates. Deena Metzger
writes at the border between the North and the South, the dead and the living,
memory and imagination, peoples and "responsible citizens," the future and the
past, and that separates the space of love and possibility from the dark
chambers where dissidents are tortured and women keep their real lives hidden
from the men who seek to dominate them. And she invents a language of intimacy
and splendor in which the quivering life of resistance to the ongoing Conquest
is experienced as the beauty and hope that remain vital amidst the debris and
mass graves of history. La Negra y Blanca is the crowning
achievement of a life devoted to storytelling, tikkun olam, and tightrope
walking on a thin cable spun between poetry and truth.
author of The Road from Hiroshima and Shadow Traffic
How To Order:
La Negra y Blanca is now available from the Book Clearing House, 800-431-1579, or visit their website at http://www.bookch.com or through Amazon.com or order through your favorite independent bookstore.
from Hand to Hand Publishing