Writing the Goodlife
Mexican American Literature and the Environment
Goodlife writing has existed for at least the past century, Ybarra contends, but Chicana/o literary history’s emphasis on justice and civil rights eclipsed this tradition and hidden it from the general public’s view. Likewise, in ecocriticism, the voices of people of color most often appear in deliberations about environmental justice. The quiet power of goodlife writing certainly challenges injustice, to be sure, but it also brings to light the decolonial environmentalism heretofore obscured in both Chicana/o literary history and environmental literary studies.
Ybarra’s book takes on two of today’s most discussed topics—the worsening environmental crisis and the rising Latino population in the United States—and puts them in literary-historical context from the U.S.-Mexico War up to today’s controversial policies regarding climate change, immigration, and ethnic studies. This book uncovers 150 years’ worth of Mexican American and Chicana/o knowledge and practices that inspire hope in the face of some of today’s biggest challenges.
“A valuable contribution to the field of Chicana/o ecocriticism.”—Cheryll Glotfelty, co-editor of The Bioregional Imagination: Literature, Ecology, and Place
"Writing the Goodlife offers a timely, lucid, elegant and always compelling analysis of a broad swath of literature. . . It shows how tremendously important ecological and environmental thinking have been to Mexican American letters for more than a century. With this text Ybarra also creates a literary history that suggests a hitherto unrecognized tradition of ecological meditation in literary form. Writing the Goodlife broadens our understanding of Chicana literature and ecocriticism in significant new ways.”—Mary Pat Brady, author of Extinct Lands, Temporal Geographies: Chicana Literature and the Urgency of Space