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Jennifer Maritza McCauley

Jennifer Maritza McCauley says I can’t write without creating a soundtrack to my work. I love music playing in the background when I type and I love jigging and jumping and flapping my fingers to flailing sounds. Writing can be such a visceral experience; it fully inhabits me and music whisks me into a sort of trance. I go to concerts and live music often so I can drench myself in the spike and strum of good music.”

The stories in McCauley’s When Trying to Return Home are profoundly moving and powerful, and dig deeply into the question of belonging. A young woman is torn between overwhelming love for her mother and the need to break free from her damaging influence during a desperate and disastrous attempt to rescue her brother from foster care. A man, his wife, and his mistress each confront the borders separating love and hate, obligation and longing, on the eve of a flight to San Juan. A college student grapples with the space between chivalry and machismo in a tense encounter involving a nun. And in 1930s Louisiana, a woman attempting to find a place to call her own chances upon an old friend at a bar and must reckon with her troubled past.

Forming a web of desires and consequences that span generations, McCauley’s Black American and Afro–Puerto Rican characters remind us that these voices have always been here, occupying the very center of American life—even if we haven’t always been willing to listen. (From the publisher) (Counterpoint Press)

Check out the playlist for When Trying to Return Home and an explanation behind the song choices here.

Or listen to Jennifer on the ReadMore podcast below.