Front cover of Women Surrounded by Water: A Memoir, by Patricia Coral, featuring bits of images of palm trees, ocean ripples, and sprays of water on an orange background.

Women Surrounded by Water

A Memoir

Patricia Coral

152 pp. 5.5 x 8.5
12 illus.
Pub Date: EXPECTED November, 2024

Subjects: Creative Nonfiction
Latinx & Latin American Studies

Series: Machete

Imprint: Mad Creek

Preorder Paperback $19.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-5925-2

Women Surrounded by Water centers on the silenced history of Puerto Rican women and what writer Anjannette Delgado calls ‘our sexile.’ Colonization, patriarchy, and family tie women to the land differently than they tie men to it. Revisiting the history of her ancestras, Patricia Coral tells her own story while also giving voice to the experiences of three generations of women. Using memory and form to decolonize her storytelling, she invites us to ‘senti-pensar’ with her the process of becoming a woman writer, a Latina whose voice can shape the fragmented view we have of Puerto Rico.” —Mayra Santos-Febros

Growing up in Puerto Rico, Patricia Coral was surrounded by women who fought for their needs amid the demands of domesticity and who were dismissed and judged when they rejected any predetermined paths on an island that itself has never been free. At age twenty-five, she married her first love, a green-eyed musician whose internal storms drove Coral to slowly realize that the marriage must end. Faced with disillusionment—with her husband, with the patriarchal expectations that surrounded her like the Caribbean Sea, and with the limited options available to her—she leaves, only for Hurricane Maria to wrench her heart homeward.

Coral evokes the beauty, love, and language of her family and of Puerto Rico as well as the pain of yearning for more. Tastes, colors, and the dreamlike lushness of childhood memories infuse this mournful and propulsive memoir of personal and natural disasters—and the self-discovery made possible only when we choose what to leave behind.

author photo

Patricia Coral is a bilingual Puerto Rican writer. She holds an MFA in creative writing from American University, where she received the Myra Sklarew Award and where she was Editor in Chief of FOLIO Coral writes creative nonfiction and poetry, but frequently her words find their home in between. The former events director for Politics and Prose Bookstore, she has contributed to numerous literary magazines.


Trigger Warning
Proyectos Domésticos: Land
                  The Women Who Test the Waters
                  Marriage Addictions I
                  A Prayer for Mercy
                  Don’t Leave Him Alone
                  Marriage Addictions II
                  A Prayer for Miracles
                  Bisabuela Minia
                  The Women in the Kitchen
                  A Prayer for the Ones Who Lost All
                  Domestic Romance
                  The Women I Grew Up With
                  Marriage Addictions III
                  A Hopeless Prayer
                  Madera Mala
                  The Untamed Women
                  A Prayer for Acceptance
                  Abuela Mery Before Us
Aislamientos: Shore
uno: exiles
                  The Dual or Multiple
                  Prayers for the Ones Who Emigrate
                  Diasporic Essay I
                  Diasporic Essay II
                  Diasporic Essay III
                  Diasporic Essay IV
                  A Prayer for the One Who Doesn’t Return
                  The Women Who Are Not the One
                  La Isla
dos: storms
                  The Storms Hit
                  Broken House
                  Ruta Panorámica
                  The One Who Sends Boxes
                  The Women Who Survive Hurricanes
                  Hurricane Memorials
tres: burials
                  Boxes to Carry
                  The Women Who Are Wrapped in Sheets
                  Hurricane María Antonia
Camino a Casa: Ocean
                  After the Three Longest Minutes
                  Abuela Geo
                  Cooking Lessons
                  After the Hurricane
                  Author’s Pic
                  The One Who Learns to Swim in the Ocean

Author’s Note
Works Referenced

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