From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction
Twenty-nine mostly serious but all well-written stories make up this collection, prefaced with introductions by the two editors. The authors are Latinos from all over the Western Hemisphere, including the U.S., and while some are well established writers, others are newcomers to the art.
Some stories might be difficult to follow without some knowledge of the Spanish language. Luckily living much of my life with a Cuban partner and his mother helped me out a lot.
These stories don’t mince words about the sad and tragic aspects of gay life among Latinos. In the first story a sissy Mexican boy murders his abusive father by causing a car jack to give way, thereby crushing him under the car. The penultimate story describes the ordeal of two gay Guatemalans, one abandoned by his single mother, the other beat up regularly by his father, as they try to cross into the U.S. They don’t make it.
Stories vary in length from fewer than two pages to 19. That longest story, along with two other longer ones, are excerpts from novels. The longest one is also the most hopeful, about a 40-year Irish Anglo gay man returning to the South Bronx after losing his Puerto Rican lover of 20 years. In one day he meets (and falls for) the sexy 17-year-old son of his super and pours out his heart to the sympathetic grandmotherly Puerto Rican across the hall.
While most of the stories are straightforward narratives, two use a stream-of-conscious style. There is little actual sex, and of that, much is unhappy. In many of the stories there is just too much tragedy for sex to even come up.
Having reviewed the ARC, I trust the few minor typos will get fixed before actual publication.These are important Latino authors sharing serious literary stories. All the authors and the editors have short bios at the end of the volume. Any library or reader interested in the latest of Latino gay writing will want this collection.
Reviewer: James Doig Anderson
Professor Emeritus of Library and Information Science