Posts Tagged ‘lesbian’

The Gilda Stories: A Novel

June 21, 2009

Author: Jewelle Gomez

Title: The Gilda Stories: a Novel

Genre: Lesbian

Publication Date: 1991

Number of Pages: 252

Geographical Setting: Louisiana, California, Missouri, Massachusetts, New York, and New Hampshire

Time Period: 1850, 1890, 1921, 1955, 1981, 2020, and 2050.

Series: n/a

Plot Summary:
This is the story of a single woman, leading multiple lives… The story begins like an historical novel, recreating the antebellum South, 1850 Louisiana, with the central character’s first life. She is a runaway slave, not yet a vampire, not even named. She stabs her would be would-be rapist (and likely murderer) in self-defense. Huddled in the basement, alone with the body and covered in blood, the girl is rescued and finds sanctuary in a brothel run by Gilda, a 300-year-old vampire who yearns for “true death”–and her Lakota Sioux companion, Bird. The pair “convert” the girl, who takes her benefactor’s name… Gilda.

The rest of Gilda’s lives are spent searching for a place to call home, for love, and for greater meaning in the world. The 1980s finds her in San Francisco, where she meets others like her and learns the subtleties of what it is to be a vampire. In Boston in the 1950s she is forced into confronting a cruel vampire pimp. Toward the end Gilda takes her readers to the future, an America of polluted, dying cities. People scramble to get of of the planet and, vampires are hunted by the rich and greedy to extend their own lives.

Though it really deals with vampires, this doesn’t feel like the usual horror story. It’s a story of character. These are vampires without the need to kill. When they take the blood of others, they leave behind “what’s needed–energy, dreams, ideas.” Bringing an unusual twist to the subject matter, The Gilda Stories may have a draw to readers’ interests in feminist stories, African American women and lesbian stories and struggles, social issues, history, vampires, and romance.

Subject Headings:
Lesbian vampires — Fiction.
African Americans — Fiction.

Appeal: multiple time lines, multiple locations, strongly developed secondary characters, philosophical, slowly revealed, African-American, lesbian, bi-sexual, dense, serious, historical settings, vampires, social critique, corruption of power, sexuality, conflicted character

terms that best describe this book: philosophical, character over time, social culture

Similar Authors or works (fiction):
The Dear One by Jacqueline Woodson: African American girls, development, and growth.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston: A classic story of an African American woman’s life.

The Street: a Novel by Ann Petry: Social criticism, study of African American life in the 1940’s.

Similar Authors or works (non-Fiction):
Does Your Mama Know? edited by Lisa Moore: An anthology of black lesbian coming out stories.

Black Queer Studies: a Critical Anthology by various: Essays considering the ways that gender and sexuality have been glossed over in black studies and race and class marginalized in queer studies.

Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism by Patrica Hill Collins: explores the social and personal implications of historical images and more current concerns about the influence of prison culture on urban youth culture that glorifies connections between sex and violence.

Name: Chris