Professor's novel bridges two cultures

A bicultural novel in Spanish became available to readers in the other culture earlier this year when Beatriz Salcedo-Strumpf’s first novel was translated and published in English.

Salcedo-Strumpf is a visiting assistant professor of Spanish in SUNY Oswego’s department of modern languages and literatures. She is working on her dissertation in Latin American literature, specifically on Mexican women writers, at Syracuse University.

And she is a Mexican woman writer herself, having published short stories in the Miami-based literary journal Baquiana and her novel, “Correo Electronico para Amantes” in Spanish and “E-mail for Lovers” in English.

The book tells the story of Milagros, or Mila, a Mexican woman who is married to an American man and living in upstate New York, through her e-mail correspondence with a man in Mexico.

It is full of the details of everyday life in language that is plain and simple yet often poetic as well. A sample:

“Our heritage has saddled women with some of the most plaintive ones in the world. My American friends have luminous, even uplifting names like ‘Amber’ and ‘Crystal’ and ‘Joy’. . . . I consider some of the girls from my childhood and wonder if their parents ever thought about the meanings of the names they anointed them with, names like ‘Dolores,’ ‘Martirio’ and ‘Soledad,’ echoes of pain, suffering and loneliness.”

Talk of food, music, literature, the weather—sun and snow—and cats fills the e-mails as they are woven into a novel whose ultimate concern is relationships, between individuals and between cultures.

Salcedo-Strumpf is using “Correo Electronico para Amantes” in a course she is teaching this semester on Mexican women writers.

In 2000, Ediciones Nuevo Espacio in New Jersey published “Correo Electronico para Amantes” in its Gutenberg Collection, books printed on demand as they are ordered online. AuthorHouse published the English edition in the same manner this year. Both are priced at $12.95 online. The English version is also available from the publisher as an electronic book for $3.95.

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(Posted: Dec 01, 2004)