“It’s Almost Like the System Fails to Invite.” Angie Cruz on the Bureaucracy of Immigration
This Week on the Book Dreams Podcast
In this episode, we talk to author Angie Cruz, whose latest novel is the widely acclaimed How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water. This irresistible book inspired a conversation about a myriad of topics: how the unconscious mind influences the creative process, the lengths women will go to escape a dangerous situation, invisible labor as it pertains to women—especially immigrant women—friendship, partnership, motherhood, and more. Take a listen!
From the episode:
Angie Cruz: I think that the personal is political. For me growing up, moving through so many of these documents both as a child of immigrants where I was constantly translating or helping facilitate processes for my family members and even myself—I had to also do my own forms, everything from going through the systems to go to college. Or even right now. I look at these questions, and I say, “Wow, they’re so culturally biased.” Yes, I am highly Americanized. I was born in New York City, raised in New York City, educated in New York City, and I still sometimes struggle with the cultural biases that exist in some of these questions.
And I then think, what would it be like for someone that didn’t have those experiences, English is not their first language, going through these questions? It’s almost like the system fails to invite. There’s ways that we could communicate with each other where we’re inviting a person in or we’re really making it difficult for them to enter. I wanted to play with that, and laugh, too, about it, because it is very tragic. It’s very painful, going through the bureaucracy of getting any kind of benefit, moving through any kind of system. The stakes are so high for so many people.
Angie Cruz is the author of four novels. Her book Dominicana was the inaugural book pick for the Good Morning America Book Club. It was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize, longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and the Aspen Words Literary Prize, and won the Alex Award in Fiction. It was named a “most anticipated” or “best book” in 2019 by Time, Newsweek, People, Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Esquire. Angie is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning literary journal Asterisk, and she’s currently an associate professor at University of Pittsburgh. How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water was a New York Times Notable and a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice.
Book Dreams uses books to explore topics we can’t stop thinking about. Hosted by Julie Sternberg and Eve Yohalem, Book Dreams releases new episodes every Thursday. Visit our website for more about the show, find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.