“[Gritos] is a collection about prejudice and pride, told with the flair of a storyteller known for his fiction. . . . [Gilb’s] prose is easy-flowing and thoughtful. He can be unbelievably funny. . . . What he has to say and how he says it is so interesting, you can’t help but pay attention.” Marta Barber, The Miami Herald
978-0-8021-4127-9 • $13.00 • Paperback • May 2004
From “an important voice in American fiction” (Annie Proulx), a collection of essays that cuts to the heart of the Mexican-American experience
Dagoberto Gilb is one of today’s most captivating and provocative fiction writers. Now Gilb offers a collection of essays that brilliantly portrays an artist working to earn respectand find his placeas a Mexican-American in the literary world and the world at large, to say nothing of his singular and beloved borderland of Texas.
“Gritos” are the cries in Mexican songs exuberant and excited, loud and longand Gilb’s essays are charged with the same urgency, sincerity, and musicality. Whether describing the humbling experience of turning to a psychic and being mysteriously ignored, or the nervous rush of attending a White House dinner as an award-winning author, Gilb’s stories attune us to the complexities of emotion and the exhilarating subtleties of everyday life.
In “Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes,” his controversial piece for Harper’s, he travels to the land of his mother, to the spot where Cortés first saw Malinche. In his heartrending piece “Mi Mommy,” published in The New Yorker, he tackles the myths surrounding Mexican women such as his mother, and in “Me Macho, You Jane,” those surrounding men like himself. In “Vaya con Dios, Rosendo Juarez,” he is asked to write a cop show for TV, and must struggle with its racist implications.
Whether his subject is cockfighting, Cormac McCarthy, fatherhood, or the constant frustrations of writing from the margins, Gilb can tell it only as he sees it, with his trademark combination of candor, lyricism, and wit. Always, he engages the reader with scenes as vividly rendered as they are funny, intimate, sometimes devastating. Even for those who have not had the pleasure of reading Gilb’s fiction, Gritos is an engaging glimpse into the heart and mind of a passionate and idiosyncratic thinker.