Translated Woman

TranslatedWomanCoverRuth Behar, Translated Woman:
Crossing the Border with Esperanza’s Story
(Boston: Beacon Press, 1993; Paperback, 1994)

Translated Woman is an account of my friendship with a Mexican street peddler. It was named a Notable Book of the Year for 1993 by the New York Times and received Honorable Mention, Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing, from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology, in 1994. Translated Woman was adapted for the stage by PREGONES Theater, a Latino theater company based in the Bronx, New York. The stage adaptation, with live music and songs based on the book, has been performed in New Hampshire, the University of Michigan, and the University of Minnesota. The premiere of the work in a commercial venue took place on November 12, 1998 at the Painted Bride Theater in Philadelphia.

Translated Woman is widely used in courses in women’s studies, Latin American and Latino studies, anthropology, history, psychology, education, and literature. It has gained a broad readership outside the academy and is frequently mentioned as an essential book on Mexico and on the new turn toward including a personal dimension in humanistic research.

Publisher’s page
Buy online
Ruth Behar. “Goodbye, Comadre.” Savage Minds. 6, January, 2015.
You can also find Ruth’s essay “Goodbye, Comadre” in the Chronicle Review.

Endorsements of Translated Woman:

“Whether you are a comadre or a stranger, a storyteller or story-listener, this book reaches across kitchen tables, across cultures, and takes you into its confidence.” -Sandra Cisneros, author of Woman Hollering Creek

“A finely crafted readable cross-cultural encounter between dos comadres: feminist anthropologist and informant, cubanita de este lado and mexicana across the border…. Escribiendo cultura con corazón, compasión y pasión, Behar moves the serpent to speak, and move us to read and read again.” -Gloria Anzaldúa, author of Borderlands/La Frontera

“A brave and unusual work…. A fascinating portrait of two very different women and their intertwined struggle for identity.” -Boston Globe

“A stunning critique and reversal of the received image of the passive and humble Mexican Indian woman…. Engrossing reading at the hands of skillful interpreter.” -New York Times Book Review

“A demanding and intensely satisfying read.” -Hispanic Magazine

Reviews of Translated Woman:

5/6/92, Chronicle of Higher Education (by Scott Heller, mention)

1/15/93, Booklist

1/18/93, Publishers Weekly

2/1/93, Library Journal

2/5/93, Boston Globe

January-February, 93, Hispanic Magazine

January-February, 93, Ms (box)

2/25/93, Boston Phoenix (by Alan West)

3/93, Boston Phoenix

3/7/93, Oakland Tribune

5/93, Women’s Review of Books (by Louise Lamphere)

5/5/93, Chronicle of Higher Education (article and interview, “Esperanza’s Story and Ruth’s,” by Liz McMillen)

5/93, Choice (by Oriol Pi-Sunyer)

7/10/93 NRC Handelsblad (Netherlands, Nijmegen)

7-8/93, NACLA, Report on the Americas

8/4/93, New York Newsday (interview)

Summer 93, Belles Lettres

8/93, Books of the South-West

9/93, Sojourner

10/1/93, Sunflower (Wichita State University, interview)

10/2/93, Wichita Eagle (interview)

9/5/93, New York Times Book Review (by Nancy Scheper-Hughes)

9/20/93, The Nation (by Victor Perera)

12/30/93, International Herald Tribune (by Ariel Dorfman)

12/5/93, New York Times (Notable Books of 1993)

4/24/94, New York Times (New and Notable Paperbacks)

1993-1994, Quality Paperback Book Club (book adoption)

September-October, 1993, Michigan Alumnus

4/24/94, Wellesley News

Spring, 94, Latino Stuff Review (by Lourdes Gil)

January-February, 94, Tikkun (by Ilan Stavans)

9/94, Journal of American History (by Emma Pérez)

June, 95, American Anthropologist (“Ruth Behar’s Biography in the Shadow: A Review of Reviews” by Gelya Frank)

November, 95, American Ethnologist (by Judith Friedlander)

12/29/96, Los Angeles Times Book Review, “Best Books of 1996,” in Biography (by Cristina Garcia)

Review essays that include and highlight Translated Woman:

“Reframing the Narrative Voice in Educational Research,” by William G. Tierney, Review of Education/Pedagogy/Cultural Studies 16 (1), 1994: 87-92.

“Late-Modern Anxieties about Modes of Knowing: Gender Themes,” by Maila K. Stivens, Current Anthropology 36 (4), Aug.-Oct., 1995: 706-709.

“Narrative and Psychological Understanding,” by Ruthellen Josselson, Psychiatry 58, November 1995: 330-328.

“Personal Testimony: Latin American Women Telling Their Lives,” by Kathleen Logan, Latin American Research Review 32 (1), 1997: 199-211 (extensive discussion of Translated Woman).