In her acclaimed debut work, Cisneros tells the story of Esperanza Cordero, a young girl growing up in the Latino section of Chicago. Esperanza's thoughts and emotions are expressed in her fable-like poems and stories, which portray the alternating beauty and desolation of her life and its realities. Esperanza doesn't want to belong—not to her rundown neighborhood, and not to the low expectations the world has for her. Esperanza's story is that of a young girl coming into her power, and inventing for herself what she will become.
“Sandra Cisneros is one of the most brilliant of today's young writers. Her work is sensitive, alert, nuanceful... rich with music and picture.” —Gwendolyn Brooks
“Cisneros draws on her rich [Latino] heritage... and seduces with precise, spare prose, creat[ing] unforgettable characters we want to lift off the page. She is not only a gifted writer, but an absolutely essential one.” —Bebe Moore Campbell, The New York Times Book Review
“Marvelous . . . spare yet luminous. The subtle power of Cisneros's storytelling is evident. She communicates all the rapture and rage of growing up in a modern world.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“A deeply moving novel...delightful and poignant.... Like the best of poetry, it opens the windows of the heart without a wasted word.”—Miami Herald
Also available in Spanish, La casa en Mango Street, translated from the English by Elena Poniatowska.
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street, we have received the following kind words and praise from fellow authors:
“Afortunado! Lucky! Lucky the generation who grew up with Esperanza and The House on Mango Street. And lucky future readers. This funny, beautiful book will always be with us.” —Maxine Hong Kingston
“The House on Mango Street is so succinct, funny, and beautiful that it is timeless. It’s poetry and song with yearning and love that we can all recognize. It’s one of those books that we will be reading and re-reading for a very long time.” —Edwidge Danticat
“The House on Mango Street is a book that will be cherished for generations. With its tenderness, its humor, and its wide-eyed truth telling, Esperanza’s story becomes our story, whether we’re Latinas or not.” —Cristina García
“A classic. . . . One of the mother roots of the great flowering of Latino literature in the United States. This little book has made a great space for itself on the shelf of American literature.” —Julia Alvarez
“Sandra is a house, a mango and a street, all in one.” —Eduardo Galeano
“The House on Mango Street has given a voice to all of us who have made the United States home, while never forgetting where we come from. . . . An unforgettable and indispensable book.” —Jorge Ramos
“Sandra Cisneros has made a difference to Latino literature; beginning with House on Mango Street, her works have conveyed the Southwestern Latino experience with verve, charm and passion.” —Oscar Hijuelos
“In English my name means hope. In Spanish it means too many letters. It means sadness, it means waiting. It is like the number nine. A muddy color. It is the Mexican records my father plays on Sunday mornings when he is shaving, songs like sobbing. It was my great-grandmother's name and now it is mine. She was a horse woman too, born like me in the Chinese year of the horse--which is supposed to be bad luck if you're born female--but I think it is a Chinese lie because the Chinese, like the Mexicans, don't like their women strong....
At school they say my name funny as if the syllables were made out of tin and hurt the roof of your mouth. But in Spanish my name is made out of a softer something, like silver, not quite as thick as sister's name--Magdalena--which is uglier than mine. Magdalena who at least can come home and become Nenny. But I am always Esperanza.”
For more about Sandra Cisneros, please visit her official website.
Sandra Cisneros was born in Chicago in 1954. She has worked as a teacher to high school dropouts, a poet-in-the-schools, a college recruiter, and an arts administrator. Internationally acclaimed for her poetry and fiction, and the recipient of numerous awards, Cisneros is also the author of Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories, My Wicked Wicked Ways, and Loose Woman. The daughter of a Mexican father and a Mexican-American mother, and sister to six brothers, she is nobody's mother and nobody's wife. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, and is currently at work on a novel.