Perez Firmat looks at the effect of writing in Spanish and English - what he calls "tongue ties" - in a group of bilingual Hispanic writers (Spanish, Spanish American and US Latino). He includes George Santayana (American philosopher), Spanish poets (Pedro Salinas, Luis Cernuda), Spanish-American fiction writers (Calvert Casey, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Maria Luisa Bombal) and US Latino writers (Sandra Cisneros, Richard Rodriguez, Judith Ortiz Cofer). Perez Firmat writes: "the group is heterogeneous, but its members have one thing in common: their careers are shaped, in whole or in part, by a linguistic family romance that involves negotiating between the competing claims and attractions of Spanish and English".
GUSTAVO PEREZ FIRMAT is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese languages at Columbia University. He is the author of Next Year in Cuba: A Cubano's Coming of Age in America (Anchor, 1996) and editor of Do the Americas Have a Common Literature? (Duke University Press, 1990) .