“The prospect of reading a novel narrated in run-on sentences, fragments, Spanish phrases and street slang might seem daunting, but not when you meet the precocious, Holden Caufieldesque narrator of Dagoberto Gilb’s coming-of-age novel . . . Sonny’s voice is mesmeric. It keeps us reading.” Sarah Fay, New York Times
978-0-8021-4402-7 • $14.00 • Paperback • Feb. 2009
Published to rave reviews around the country when it was first published in hardcover, The Flowers is the new novel from Dagoberto Gilb, winner of the PEN/ Hemingway Award for The Magic of Blood and most recently a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for his nonfiction collection, Gritos. Gilb, one of today’s most captivating and authentic fiction writers, is much admired for his compact style and socially brazen storytelling, and his fiction has been compared to Raymond Carver’s and Richard Wright’s. In The Flowers, Gilb has taken on the voice of a Chicano teenager looking at manhood. Sonny Bravo is a tender, smart Mexican American who has come to live at the Flowers, where he moved when his troubled and too beautiful mother Silvia remarried an Okie contractor named Cloyd Longpre. Sonny fills many days taking care of the buildingsweeping the decks, taking out the trash, and entangling himself with the lives and stories of other tenants: Cindy, an eighteen-yearold druggie who is married and bored; Nica, a cloistered girl who cares for her infant brother; Bud, a muscled-up construction worker who hates blacks and Mexicans; and Pink, who sells used cars in front of the building. As Sonny observes a miniaturized world of prejudice at the Flowers, the neighborhood he lives in explodes with racial violenceand Sonny does what he can to save what’s good in his world. The Flowers is about rules that can be broken like wooden fences, and about the drive to find that which does not fall apart. Dagoberto Gilb, in his most commanding work yet, has written an inspiring novel about the want for love that transcends age, race, and time.