Magical Habits

Magical Habits

Writing Matters!

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Book Pages: 208 Illustrations: 15 illustrations Published: August 2021

Author: Monica Huerta

Chicanx and Latinx Studies, General Interest > Biography, Letters, Memoirs, Literature and Literary Studies > Creative Nonfiction

In Magical Habits Monica Huerta draws on her experiences growing up in her family's Mexican restaurants and her life as a scholar of literature and culture to meditate on how relationships between self, place, race, and storytelling contend with both the afterlives of history and racial capitalism. Whether dwelling on mundane aspects of everyday life, such as the smell of old kitchen grease, or grappling with the thorny, unsatisfying question of authenticity, Huerta stages a dynamic conversation between genres, voices, and archives: personal and critical essays exist alongside a fairy tale, photographs and restaurant menus complement fictional monologues based on her family's history. Developing a new mode of criticism through storytelling, Huerta takes readers through Cook County courtrooms, the Cristero rebellion (in which her great-grandfather was martyred by the Mexican government), Japanese baths in San Francisco—and a little bit about Chaucer, too. Ultimately, Huerta sketches out habits of living while thinking that allow us to consider what it means to live with and try to peer beyond history even as we are caught up in the middle of it.


“Monica Huerta moves readers toward a habit of being captured by objects that mesh one's own singular and collective history. We learn to breathe with them and to be dispossessed by them. This fantastic book enchanted me and taught me so much.” — Lauren Berlant, author of Cruel Optimism

Magical Habits is as much a treasure trove as it is a book—full of surprises, glittering insights, lyrical vignettes, personal archives, political history, family lore, and brilliant literary critique. The writing is exquisite, for the book is both polyphonic and constantly, effortlessly, changing tacks. I would turn the page without any sense of where Monica Huerta might take me next, only knowing that I wanted to follow, that I did not want to come out from under this spell.” — Justin Torres, author of We the Animals


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Price: $24.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Monica Huerta is Assistant Professor of English and American Studies at Princeton University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Author's Note
Preface: A Patron Saint
1. The Synthesis Problem
2. Fabulation
3. Disciplines and Disciples
4. Aphorism as a Promise
5. Heartbreak as Praxis
6. Whether Wisdom
The Quene. A Mervilos and Magiquall Tale of epistemological Mischief, Wherein there are revealed no secretes
7. Before and After
8. When Courts of Love Have Cash Registers
9. Auctions
10. Uncertainty and Bathing
11. After Hypervigilance
12. Choreography
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-1417-1 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-1326-6