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Have You Seen Marie? Hardcover – October 2, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 101 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf; First Edition edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307597946
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307597946
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.6 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #826,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“This picture book for adults explores the ways in which grief lays us low, but also can bring us out to discover the strength of the communities we belong to. When Roz comes to visit Sandra after Sandra’s mother passes away, she brings her cat, Marie. Marie, in the way of so many cats, disappears the day she arrives, and Roz is desperate to find her again. The two women make flyers and Sandra reluctantly leaves her home to help Roz canvas the neighborhood, along the way meeting with others who grieve their own losses. With colorful drawings, Hernández brings the community alive, while Cisneros writes her heroine’s way through the discovery that there is a way to emerge from sadness into memory. And yes, there is a happy ending.” —Kathy Ward, Juneau Empire
“In Have You Seen Marie?, we are invited into a look of the pain Cisneros’s experiences upon losing her mother. . . . This loss does not allow her to see tomorrow because she cannot remove herself from the remorse of today. During her grieving process, Cisneros receives company from her friend Roz who brings along her cat, Marie. As the two women are rejoined, they find themselves without Marie. The story takes on a new sense of urgency as the two friends take to the streets to find the missing cat. As the search for Marie ensues, we are introduced to the colorful experience and occupants of San Antonio.  Each of these introductions allows us to take part in the environment that exists to remind us that there is life all around us. . . . Cisneros’s gift of storytelling and Ester Hernández’s illustrations bring to life the story about death, grief, and the desire to move forward. This book is a wonderful gift to share with someone who is experiencing the pain of losing a loved one.” —Jasmine Colón, Modern Latina

“Award-winning Cisneros tells the story of her search for a runaway cat that parallels her journey through grief after the death of her mother. . . . This is a charmingly illustrated tale, rich in metaphor, and a solace to anyone who has felt the despair of losing someone dear.” —Diane Prokop, Portland Book Review 
“Warmly comforting . . . Cisneros has crafted a story that not only explores loss but also the journey back, creating a book that’s unique and uplifting. As Rosalind and the narrator search a beloved cat, Marie, they encounter a culturally rich and diverse community—each person with his or her own story and preoccupations, his or her own sadness. Each of these characters seems to understand that the search is about more than finding Marie. . . . Hernández’s illustrations are wonderfully detailed and capture the uniqueness of the neighborhood and the spirituality of the journey. . . . Cisneros and Hernández invite the reader to visually enjoy the story, to listen to the music of the words. In the afterword, Cisneros explores how she dealt with the death of her mother, and how the act of creation nourished her as she grieved.” —Matt Mendez, El Paso Times  

“A magical journey . . . A short, sweet, illustrated story about two friends searching for a lost cat. The women scour an eclectic neighborhood based on Cisneros’ own quarter of San Antonio, Texas, encountering a series of characters and small adventures . . . Cisneros has folded powerful themes into this seemingly simple fable: confronting and accepting the loss of a loved one, the importance of community, the presence of spirituality in our lives and the way that imagination and art can illuminate reality. . . . The inhabitants we meet in Cisneros’ story are equally eclectic, and many have suffered their own losses. . . . They come to life not only in Cisneros’ poetic nuggets of prose, but in Ester Hernández’s sweetly realistic color illustrations. The book glows with Cisneros’ affection for [her] neighbors. [She] hopes the book will comfort others dealing with loss.” —Jordan Levin, The Miami Herald

Have You Seen Marie? is the size of a lunchbox sandwich, but it offers lasting nourishment. The illustrated fable starts as a search for a friend’s missing cat, but quickly becomes a meditation on loss, a way for the main character, also named Sandra, to process her mother’s death. As Sandra and her friend Roz search San Antonio for Marie, questioning not just neighbors but also their pets and the neighborhood squirrels, Sandra goes on her own inner quest to make peace with her profound grief. Marie? is an orphan adventure tale for grown-ups with the soothing cadence of a children’s picture book. Like the best bedtime stories, it both honors the darkness around us and keeps the darkness at bay. . . . This book will surely be pressed into many bereft hands. Cisneros captures the experience of grief with moving and visceral clarity; lines like ‘Every day I woke up and felt like a glove left behind at the bus station’ take the reader straight into the heart of loss, while charming descriptions of San Antonio characters and the neighborhoods they inhabit keep us grounded in the world Cisneros knows so well. Hernández’s drawings fill in the blanks left by the vibrant but spare text . . . Sandra’s neighbors remind her she is part of a community that understands loss, that can support her through loss. This reminder is one of the greatest gifts of the book: We may feel like abandoned gloves in our grief, but when we share our stories with one another, we realize we’re in the same lost-and-found box together.” —Gayle Brandeis, San Francisco Chronicle 
“Cisneros is perhaps best-known for The House on Mango Street, a story about a young Latina who leaves behind her barrio for a chance at a better life and is considered a classic of Chicano literature. . . . Have You Seen Marie? [is] a tale about a woman’s search for a cat who goes missing in the wake of her mother’s death. It’s a fable for grieving grown-ups, [one] she hopes will be medicine for hearts broken from loss. . . . Artist Hernández represented the unique and colorful characters, all based on Cisneros’ neighbors. They make up the quirky King William district of San Antonio, Texas, where the story is based.” —Cindy Y. Rodriguez, CNN 
“In Have You Seen Marie?, the narrator searches for her lost cat in her neighborhood. But she’s not just looking for Marie, she’s looking a piece of herself. . . . The book’s weight comes as the narrator realizes that she also misses her mother, who passed away a few months earlier. Marie provides a unique glimpse into a quirky neighborhood and heartfelt look into grieving.” —The Hispanic Reader 
“A real-life bedtime story for grownups, a gently soul-stirring meditation on the universality of grief, and the healing power of community and nature. . . . Have You Seen Marie?, filled with Cisneros’ poetic words and Hernández’s vibrant illustrations, is also a love letter to the quirky neighborhood where Cisneros has lived for 20 years. . . . Charming.” —Agnes Torres Al-Shibibi, The Seattle Times

“Cisneros, perhaps best known for The House on Mango Street, is an author whose descriptive, lyrical prose and expressive treatment of the Chicano cultural experience has catapulted [her] to nearly unparalleled fame. Her new release, Have You Seen Marie?—expressively wrought and full of picturesque illustrations of San Antonio and its colorful characters by visual artist Ester Hernández—is at its heart a parable for adults, whose themes of death, mourning, and loss take on new meaning when presented within a simple tale about a cat gone astray. In the process of writing it, [Cisneros] found healing in the aftermath of her own mother’s passing.” —Nina Terrero, NBC Latino

“Best-selling Cisneros chronicles a search for a runaway cat that turns into a way to work through grief and discover community. . . . The deliberately informal, rough-edged illustrations give a nice sense of Cisneros’ multicultural, bohemian neighborhood . . . [T]his warmhearted tale offers comfort to anyone coping with the loss of a loved one.” —Kirkus

About the Author

Sandra Cisneros is the author of two highly celebrated novels, The House on Mango Street and Caramelo. Her awards include National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, the Lannan Literary Award, the American Book Award, and a MacArthur Fellowship. Other books include the story collection Woman Hollering Creek; two books of poetry; and two books of children's literature. Her work has been translated into more than twenty languages. Cisneros is the founder of the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral and Macondo Foundations, which serve creative writers.

Ester Hernández is an internationally acclaimed visual artist whose work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Library of Congress, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo in Mexico City. She lives in San Francisco.

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Customer Reviews

A lovely book and touching story.
C. Armbruster
I kept thinking how it helped to hear a story from someone else who knows these things.
Lazy Shopper
Beautifully illustrated short story.
tina imig

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Trilla Pando on October 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lost? What haven't I lost? Yet, I try not to talk about it. If I don't let on, people won't know. That's what I think.
Sandra Cisneros does.
'Have You Seen Marie?' is about loss, but also, it is about comfort, friendship, searching, and, finally about finding what is lost and more.
It's a simple story. A woman's mother died; she grieves-- both for her mother and for her lost daughterhood. She ". . . felt like a glove left behind in a bus station." I've been there.
A friend comes to visit, perhaps to comfort. She brings her cat, Marie, who promptly disappears. The two friends search the neighborhood for Marie. They meet neighbors, get help, get rebuffed, and keep on going. Finally, I'm giving away little, they succeed on many fronts.
This is a tight, good story; we get friendship, trust, some tears, some smiles and a great visit to Cisneros' San Antonio hometown. No secret why she loves it.
This simple/complex book is made more so by the touchable art of Ester Hernádez. It's a pleasure to hold and to look at as well as to read.
When I unwrapped it, I thought I'd inadvertently ordered a children's book and mentally sent to the gift-for-somebody stack. It took only a few pages for me to realize this most definitely is a grownup book; something Cisneros makes clear in her afterward, which as enlightening and personal as the made-up story that precedes it.
Thanks, Sandra Cisneros, for a book I will read often, as will my daughter who recently moved and is still dealing with a disappearing cat.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sandy J. Nielsen on October 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"In Mexico they say when someone you love dies, a part of you dies with them. But they forget to mention that a part of them is born in you--not immediately, I've learned, but eventually, and gradually." The author has just suffered the loss of her mother, leaving her feeling orphaned and drifting. It's a feeling many of us can recall quite vividly. She wants to curl up in a ball (or bawl), but is forced by the loss of her friend's cat to connect with people as the two search for the missing feline. And gradually, as she connects with people in the search, she begins to find her mother again.
With all the illustrations, it would be tempting to mistake this for a kids' book, but its message is ageless.
The illustrations augment the story and are wonderfully specific to the author's neighborhood in San Antonio. You can tell they are drawn from life. The pictures are greatly enhanced by being in color, so if you read this on an e-reader, ideally it would be a color version.
A good book for someone who has lost someone dear, or to share with a friend who has.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mamalinde on October 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"There is no getting over death, only learning how to travel alongside it." Saw the write up on this sweet book last week, promptly ordered a hard copy (despite being a Kindle owner) read it (very quickly) and found it lovely if a bit simplistic -- which is about the right level for someone in the midst of the ups and downs of losing a loved one. And then, I come to work and learn that a co-worker was suddenly widowed over the weekend. So, it has already been dispatched, with a card and I will buy another copy to have on hand.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Altamirano on January 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Four years ago I lost my 24 year old son, the youngest of 3 boys. Three weeks later the 96 year old man who was both grandfather and father passed away after a prolonged illness. The shock of the sudden loss of the boy made everything shapeless, and the death of Grandpa came as a relief. Both men lived in pain; horrible never-ending excruciating pain, and I was thankful that my grandfather no longer had to, devastated that Jacob was gone. Much time would pass before I could appreciate that my son was now not suffering from a terrible life long illness.
Reading "Have You Seen Marie?" by Sandra Cisneros reminded me of the emotions that I could not describe to anyone in those days, not even Jacobs' brothers. My whole being ached with the grief, yet I became thankful. I began to pray with thanksgiving because I no longer wanted anything other than my son - he wasn't coming back. There began to be moments when I experienced places, people and things as though for the first time. The life I led before could not appreciate how beautiful the overgrown salvia looks, or the colors my high school students put in their, and the friendships that now mean so much.
Cisneros wrote my experience of loss. "Have You Seen Marie?" is an authentic telling of the world through the eyes of sorrow, when we lose someone we love so deeply that nothing seems recognizable. The streets and neighbors and animals and stars and the river, which had been there through Cisneros lifetime, became a foundation for grief recovery. Being surrounded by love, and being able to experience that love gave me a new life.
Thank you, Sandra for putting into words, and thank you Ester for illustrating so beautifully, the process of loss and grief found in this wonderful book. I will be sharing "Marie" with many of the people who are now in my life as a result of losing Jacob.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mona AlvaradoFrazier on October 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The crux of the story is about a woman's search for a cat who goes missing in the aftermath of her mother's death.

There is so much to love about this book before one even begins reading. From the first page of illustrations, by Ester Hernandez, artista extraordinaire, I was captured by their serenity and vibrancy.Some of the images in the book reminded me of Japanese woodcuts. Others, vivacious colored pencil drawings. The illustrations perfectly accompany the melodic text and characterize the many people and moods found in the novel. (However, I wish one of the inside illustrations replaced the book cover).

An overriding sense of grief and loss weave throughout the story. There are touches of humor, but overall the sadness is palpable. I sighed in some sections, teared up in others.The author calls her book a
"fable for grownups," and for "orphans in midlife."

But I can see parents reading this to children, older kids reading to younger, and all of them enthralled and touched by the story. This is a book I'll keep, read to kids and suggest to others who are suffering a loss.
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More About the Author

Sandra Cisneros was born in Chicago in 1954. Internationally acclaimed for her poetry and fiction, she has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Lannan Literary Award and the American Book Award, and of fellowships .

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