Island of Bones

About the book

University of Nebraska Press, 2012

Island of Bones picks up where The Truth Book left off, exploring in a series of personal essays the topics of violence, sexuality, mothering, feminism, latinidad, poverty, class, and teaching in the academy today.

Finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award and winner of an International Latino Book Award, Island of Bones has been taught in college courses on memoir, creative nonfiction, and Latino literature.


“[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)

“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

“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

“Incredibly heart-wrenching and empowering.”—El Paso Times

“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

“Her search for the truth of her own life is given to us in honest, eloquent, and insightful prose.” —Portland Book Review