Richard Blanco, our closing speaker at INANE 2014, mentioned his forthcoming memoir several times during his presentation. It has been released today and is available in both hardback and e-book versions. From the publisher:
A poignant, hilarious, and inspiring memoir from the first Latino and openly gay inaugural poet, which explores his coming-of-age as the child of Cuban immigrants and his attempts to understand his place in America while grappling with his burgeoning artistic and sexual identities.
Richard Blanco’s childhood and adolescence were experienced between two imaginary worlds: his parents’ nostalgic world of 1950s Cuba and his imagined America, the country he saw on reruns of The Brady Bunchand Leave it to Beaver—an “exotic” life he yearned for as much as he yearned to see “la patria.”
Navigating these worlds eventually led Blanco to question his cultural identity through words; in turn, his vision as a writer—as an artist—prompted the courage to accept himself as a gay man. In this moving, contemplative memoir, the 2013 inaugural poet traces his poignant, often hilarious, and quintessentially American coming-of-age and the people who influenced him.
A prismatic and lyrical narrative rich with the colors, sounds, smells, and textures of Miami, Richard Blanco’s personal narrative is a resonant account of how he discovered his authentic self and ultimately, a deeper understanding of what it means to be American. His is a singular yet universal story that beautifully illuminates the experience of “becoming;” how we are shaped by experiences, memories, and our complex stories: the humor, love, yearning, and tenderness that define a life.
Advance praise for the book is extremely positive:
“A warm, emotionally intimate memoir.” —Kirkus
“Blanco has a natural, unforced style that allows his characters’ vibrancy and humor to shine through.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“Forged from truth and grace, Blanco has crafted a deeply compelling and moving memoir about place, self and family.” —Augusten Burroughs, author of This Is How and Running With Scissors
“The Prince of Los Cocuyos had me laughing time and again with its warm, sweetly self-deprecating portrait of an immigrant family attempting to straddle Cuban traditions and American trends.” —Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree
“Thank you, Richard, for this. The Prince of los Cocuyos is revelation and homecoming.” —Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street
“I adored every minute spent with young ‘Riqui’ and his endearing extended family. And at the end-an ending so beautiful and throat-catching-I felt wonderfully drenched in love.” —Monica Wood, author of When We Were the Kennedys
“Filled with colorful characters, often poignant and sometimes melancholy, Blanco’s episodic memoir is a meditation on belonging, on self-acceptance, and on his family’s almost mystical connection to Cuba.” —Booklist
“Blanco’s touching reminiscence has a deep emotional truth.” —Bookpage