Thursday, November 05, 2009

Dahlia Season, by Myriam Gurba

(pb; 2007: story/novella anthology)

From the back cover:

"Chicana. Goth. Dykling. Desiree Garcia knows she's weird and a weirdo magnet. To extinguish her strangeness, her parents ship her to Saint Michael's Catholic High School, then to Mexico, but neurology can't be snuffed out so easily: screwy brain chemistry holds the key to Desiree's madness. As fellow crazies sense a kinship with her, Desiree attracts a coterie of both wanted and unwanted admirers, including a pair of racist deathrock sisters, a pretty Hispanic girl who did time in California's most infamous mental asylum, and a transnational stalker with a pronounced limp.

". . . Dahlia Season contains not only the title novella, but also several of Gurba's acclaimed short stories."

Overall review:

Beneath the distinctive blend-veneer of literary fringe-work -- read: Mexican-American/dyke/BDSM/goth -- elements lies a level-headed, sweet-natured, true-to-the-author's-roots anthology that celebrates borderline-spiritual diversity, be it dark, innocent, or both.

This is an assured, measured, sometimes-intense, tri-lingual work that flows hard, fast and true. Worth owning, this.

Descriptions, piece by piece:

"Cruising": A cross-dressing woman cruises gay guys on the Long Beach boardwalk.

"Just Drift": A high school junior (Roberto Cassidy Moran) has a memorably bad day. Dramatic, vivid finish to this one.

"White Girl": A Mexican-American goth girl fall in love for the first time, with another goth girl.

"Primera Communión": Esperanza (aka Angel Malo), a take-it-easy homegirl, finds a way to exit her childhood barrio, via an unexpected source.

"Dahlia Season"(novella): See the back cover description.

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