Dagoberto Gilbâ€™s latest book, BEFORE THE END, AFTER THE BEGINNING, although a slight collection, is loaded with insight and humor. Itâ€™s a book about identity, about the tension between limiting factors outside our controlâ€“ our race, our class, our gender â€“ and our complexity as individuals.
November 9, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: Grove Press, Identity, Latin American Â· Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Humorous, Latin American/Caribbean, Mexico, Short Stories, Texas, y Award Winning Author
Once, many years ago when I was living in Northern Michigan, Jim Harrison walked into the restaurant where I was dining. He didnâ€™t so much walk in, in retrospect, as lumber in. It was the Blue Bird Cafe and I confess that Iâ€™d been hanging out there in the hopes of catching a glimpse of him.
I have seldom read such an extraordinary collection of stories, fascinating in their sheer inventiveness, subtly interlinked so that their images reflect and coruscate. It is not entirely right to speak of stories either. Roughly half the two dozen pieces in this collection might be called stories in the normal sense, though some are no more than brief surreal hallucinations. The rest include several poems, two sets of dictionary entries, a letter and the reply to it, a news report, and a brief history of poetry in Cuba. All the pieces are ostensibly by different authors, collected by an expatriate Irishman who introduces himself in the preface and concludes with brief biographies of all the writers involved. All of course are fictional, even the author herself: “Ana MenÃ©ndez is the pseudonym of an imaginary writer and translator, invented, if not to lend coherence to this collection, at least to offer it the pretense of contemporary relevance.”