Magazine article World Literature Today

Before the End, after the Beginning

Magazine article World Literature Today

Before the End, after the Beginning

Article excerpt

Dagoberto Gilb. Before the End, After the Beginning. New York. Grove. 2011. isbn 9780802120007

First things first: Dagoberto Gilb suffered a stroke in 2009. This merits mentioning because several of the stories in his new collection, Before the End, After the Beginning, were written during his recovery, and it provides a possible explanation as to why so many of the stories are concerned with struggles in many forms-the struggle to heal, the struggle to make ends meet, the struggle for respect.

As in his previous collections, The Magic of Blood and Woodcuts of Women, and his novels, The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuña (see WLT, Autumn 1995, 794) and The Flowers, Gilb focuses on workingclass Latinos, this time primarily in Texas, where Gilb is director of the Centro Victoria in Houston. Though he has often addressed political and socioeconomic struggles facing Latinos, the stories in Before the End tackle the same issues but with a real sense of mortality hanging over the characters. There's a moment, for example, in "To Document," where Nino, the narrator, is waiting for his flight in a Phoenix airport. "I bought a turkey and Swiss sandwich from the mexicanos working there, asking if they were miserable in Arizona because of the new law," Nino says, referring to Arizona's anti-illegal immigration law, which, critics argue, promotes racial profiling. Though the story centers on a pair of neighbors across the street from Nino's residence-neighbors Nino correctly suspects are narcs-Gilb not so subtly throws jabs at the growing racial discrimination against Latinos. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.