by J.L. Torres
A ‘sucio’ goes to an underground clinic for therapy to end his machista ways and is accidentally transitioned. Ex-gangbangers gone straight deal with a troubled, gifted son drawn to the gangsta lifestyle promoted by an emerging music called hip hop. Dead and stuck “between somewhere and nowhere,” Roberto Clemente, the great Puerto Rican baseball icon, soon confronts the reason for his predicament. These are a few of the characters in J.L. Torres’s second story collection, Migrations, the inaugural winner of the Tomás Rivera Book Prize.
These stories take us inside the lives of self-exiles, unhomed and unhinged people, estranged from loved ones, family, culture, and collective history. Despite the effects of colonization of the body and mind, Puerto Ricans have survived beyond geography and form an integral part of the American mosaic.
Praise for Migrations
“Migrations showcases a major talent. It resonates with the music of hard-luck classics from our past, yet sings songs of evasive redemption.”
— Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Hummingbird’s Daughter
J.L. Torres’s stunning collection Migrations abounds with lucid, spare stories about the Puerto Rican experience. Upon reading the first tale, I understood that I held a masterwork in my hands. Torres’s unsparing and radiant sentences accumulate into narratives that illuminate the loneliness of exile, unbelonging, and the necessary struggles to find love.
—Yxta Maya Murray, author of The World Doesn’t Work That Way, But It Could
About The Author
J. L. Torres is the author of The Family Terrorist and Other Stories; a novel, The Accidental Native; and the collection of poetry, Boricua Passport. He has published stories and poems in numerous journals and magazines, including the North American Review, Denver Quarterly, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Eckleburg Review, Puerto del Sol, Las Americas Review, and the anthology Growing Up Latino. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. Torres is a professor of English at SUNY Plattsburgh. Born in Puerto Rico, raised in the South Bronx, he lives in Plattsburgh, New York.
About the Tomás Rivera Book Prize
The Tomás Rivera Book Prize is a unique partnership between the Los Angeles Review of Books and UC Riverside. Open to any author writing in English about the Chicanx/Latinx experience, the Rivera Book Prize is committed to the discovery and fostering of extraordinary writing by a first-time or early career author whose work examines the long and varied contributions of Chicanx/Latinx in the US. The Rivera Book Prize aims to provide a platform that showcases the emerging literary talent of the Chicanx/Latinx community, to cultivate the next generation of Chicanx/Latinx writers, and to continue the rich literary memory of Tomás Rivera, Chicano author, poet, activist, and educator. Known for his seminal collection of stories, …and the Earth Did Not Devour Him, Rivera was the first Latino Chancellor of the UC system and a champion of higher education and social justice. The Rivera Book Prize honors his legacy and his belief in the power of education, activism, and stories to change lives.