In this powerful debut, Claudia Acevedo-Quiñones pieces together the story of her family and Puerto Rico using a captivating combination of historical facts, poems, maps, overheard conversations, and flash essays. Organized around six hurricanes that passed through the island with varying degrees of intensity between 1928 and 2017, The Hurricane Book documents the myriad ways in which colonialism—particularly the relationship between the United States and the island—has seeped into the lives of Puerto Ricans, affecting how they and their land recover from catastrophe, as well as how families and citizens are bound to one another. Through accounts of relatives, folklore, and necessary escape, Acevedo-Quiñones illuminates both the tenderness and heartbreak of bonds with family and homeland. Moving seamlessly from the personal to the political to the environmental, she takes the reader through her own experience of family dynamics, mental illness, and substance abuse—and their long-reaching echoes—all against the backdrop of Puerto Rico’s struggles and beauty. An attempt at a colony’s etymology in a time when it is perpetually embattled by natural disasters, crippling debt, and the mass exodus of its people, The Hurricane Book is also an invitation to see the realities that many don’t want to see—a refusal to stay in the dark about ourselves or our collective history.
«The Hurricane Book is an important work of art and archive, a blend of poetry, cartography, and Puerto Rican history. Alternating between playful language and sobering reality, Claudia Acevedo-Quiñones interrogates memory and truth, explores family secrets, and sheds light on the realities of colonialism. A multilayered, powerful book—The Hurricane Book is a gift.»
Jaquira Díaz, author of Ordinary Girls: A Memoir
«In The Hurricane Book, Claudia Acevedo-Quiñones draws an unflinching ecology of intimacy, a swirling account of that mythical pair of words we all fear and love: family and country. History has rarely felt so vivid, so candid, so potent.»
Carlos Fonseca, author of Austral
Claudia Acevedo-Quiñones is a writer from Puerto Rico whose poems and short fiction have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, wildness, Ambit Magazine, Radar Poetry, and other publications. In 2019, she received an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Stony Brook University, where she also taught poetry to undergraduate students. Her chapbook, Bedroom Pop, was published by dancing girl press in 2021. In 2022, she was awarded a Letras Boricuas Fellowship by the Flamboyán Arts Fund and the Mellon Foundation. Claudia lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her website here.