Latina author shares her personal journey as a wife as well as “the other woman,” within a complex social and political setting in Kuwait.

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Unsent Letters to my Mother.
By Adriana Páramo. ISBN 978-0-915745-23-4. 

  Adriana and her mother

It took me over ten years to give Unsent Letters to My Mother its present form. The harder I worked on the manuscript, the more elusive its final presentation became. At first, I thought I was writing a denunciation of the plight of Indian laborers in the kingdom, a version that underwent its own cycle of revisions and iterations. In a different incarnation, I alternated the criticism of the social inequality in Kuwait with a linear account of my life there. This version left me grossly unsatisfied as I wanted to cover more ground, to go deeper and share my journey as a wife as well as “the other woman.” This desire to be more personal on the page led me to rewrite the manuscript into an epistolary that although intimate lacked the cultural element, my experience as a teacher of young Kuwaiti girls, the socio-political nuances of an emerging country desperately fighting for recognition and inclusion. I rewrote the book from scratch more than a dozen times. Naturally, all these constant rewritings left me exhausted. I put the book away for a few years, wrote and published another two, plus dozens of essays, some of which went to win awards. Two years ago, I started all over again, this time slowly, and perfectly at peace with the possibility that the manuscript would never leave my hard disk. I wrote this last iteration, almost to and for myself. I did it more than anything because I wanted to have it all tidied up so I could put my life in the kingdom into a single Word file called Kuwait and forget about it. As luck would have it, Floricanto Press deemed the story worth publishing and gave birth to it in its paper form.


 Unsent Letters to my Mother gave me the freedom to look at my mother—now deceased—through a different lens. Understanding who she was outside of her parental role and have, on the paper, what we could never have in real life: an intimate conversation about what it means to be a woman, love, sex, and marriage was, is, the most unexpected gift. And the freedom I experienced in writing the stories gave me an even more unanticipated gift, one of love. Rekindling the turbulent beginnings of my relationship with El Capitán—now my husband—put my marriage of twenty plus years under the microscope. What I saw was an older version of ourselves, still trying hard to remain connected, working tirelessly at preserving this we started one day twenty-six years ago in a squash court.

Adriana and El Capitán

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