Island of Bones (University of Nebraska, 2012), a collection of creative nonfiction and personal essays, picks up where The Truth Book left off, exploring violence, sexuality, mothering, latinidad, poverty, class, and teaching in the academy today.

The collection includes such pieces as "Grip" (Fourth Genre), "Hip Joints" (Indiana Review), "Vesper Adest" (Seneca Review), "Edging" (Mid-American Review), "The Athens of the Midwest" (Cream City Review), "On Becoming Educated" (Scholar & Feminist Online), "What My Mother Told Me When I Found Her" (Hip Mama), and "Turn of Faith" (The New York Times Magazine).

The title essay, "Island of Bones," explores identity, family, and history on Cuban Key West and appears in The Other Latin@:  Writing Against a Singular Identity, edited by Blas Falconer and Lorraine M. López (University of Arizona).  "An Angle of Vision" is included in An Angle of Vision:  Women Writers on Their Poor and Working-Class Roots, edited by Lorraine M. López (University of Michigan), and "Farm Use" originally appeared in the anthology Without a Net:  The Female Experience of Growing Up Working Class, edited by Michelle Tea (Seal).


"Edging" was reprinted in Breeder:  Real-Life Stories from the New Generation of Mothers, edited by Ariel Gore and Bee Lavender (Seal), and "Grip" was reprinted in Between Song and Story:  Essays for the Twenty-First Century, edited by Sheryl St. Germain and Margaret Whitford (Autumn House).

The essays in Island of Bones have been taught at colleges and universities across the U.S.  Two of the pieces were selected as Notable Essays in Best American Essays collections.


"[A] tough and elegant collection of 20 brief essays. . . .  With undeniably strong prose, Castro is equally uncompromising in her anger, intelligence, empathy, and confusion, each essay turning and enriching the one before without repetition or break in rhythm."  

~ Publishers Weekly    (starred review)
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"Throughout her life, Castro has had to redefine her identity, both to herself and to others.  These powerful transformations form the backbone of this slim volume of visceral pieces.  Potent, emotional essays that speak to the relatable experience of rising above a harrowing childhood."  
~ Kirkus Reviews
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"With the lyric vision of a poet, the dramatic tension of a novelist, and the meditative commentary of an essayist, Joy Castro has crafted a remarkable book of linked essays about the multiple border crossings of identity."  
~ Great Plains Quarterly
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"Incredibly heart-wrenching and empowering."

~ El Paso Times
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"Memoir and argument come together in these essays, and the mix is angry, wry, sad, and always so honest, smashing stereotypes from all sides."   ~ Booklist Online
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"Her search for the truth of her own life is given to us in honest, eloquent, and insightful prose."


~ Portland Book Review
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