The Gilda Stories

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The central character of this multiracial, feminist, lesbian vampire romance fantasy travels through time and leads multiple lives. Throughout her lives, Gilda is a woman of African descent with strong feminist traits and a sense of loyalty to her friends and family, both mortal and immortal. In her first life, she is a runaway slave in Louisiana in 1850, not yet a vampire, not yet named, who stabs a rapist/bounty hunter in self-defense. Rescued and adopted by Gilda, a vampire who runs a brothel, she soon becomes a vampire herself and adopts Gilda's name. Subsequent lives take Gilda to California in 1890, Missouri in 1921, Massachusetts in 1955, New York in 1981 where she does a stint as a cabaret singer, and into the future in New Hampshire in 2020 and up to the year 2050. Gomez provides an unusual twist to the erotic vampire novel, introducing issues of race and sexual preference, but there is no attempt to address these issues except as fodder for an ultimately uninteresting romance novel. This is Gomez's first novel; she is a poet and the author of Flamingoes and Bears. (June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780932379948
  • Publisher: Firebrand Books
  • Publication date: 4/1/1991
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.51 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Jewelle Gomez’s book is considered a classic in lesbian li

    Jewelle Gomez’s book is considered a classic in lesbian literature and the nice thing about classics is that they can be discovered by other people long after they are published. Gomez recently announced that she’s working on another volume of stories about Gilda, so reviewing the first book seems especially appropriate now.

    The book opens when Gilda is a nameless slave running for her life in Louisiana in 1850. She’s rescued by the original Gilda who takes her to New Orleans where she runs a brothel with an Indian woman named Bird. Gilda and Bird take the girl under their wings, educate her and expose her to a multitude of experiences that change her from a slave into a confident woman. Eventually it is revealed that Gilda and Bird are vampires and they offer the girl the chance at eternal life. The original Gilda is tired of her existence and wants to let go of life, so she arranges for the girl to take her place and her name. The book then propels the new Gilda through two centuries, ending in 2050. During her travels she mingles with her kind and normal humans, witnessing the rise of African American culture, the civil rights movement and feminism. She also deals with sexuality, racism and environmental issues.

    Gomez created a different type of vampire, especially for the time when this book was written. Most of these vampires don’t kill humans unless forced to do so and the act of taking blood is portrayed as a mutually beneficial exchange. Gilda is taught to look into people’s thoughts and find something that is important to them; then she is to leave them with the belief that they can achieve it. Gomez relies on some of the vampire myths, but the purpose of this book isn’t to be horror fiction. The motif of the vampire gives her the ability to take her character through time and observe the changes that take place.

    Gilda’s story is one of being the ultimate “outsider.” As a black female lesbian vampire she’s about as outside as a character can be. She lives in the times that are examined, but she’s also not part of those times. It gives her a unique perspective as she examines humans in their development, especially the areas where they have failed to improve. This is a conflicted character, but coming from four minorities makes this seem natural. What she does do is gain strength over time and that reflects the changes that have occurred in American society.

    The most speculative chapter is the last one which takes Gilda into an almost apocalyptic 2050. What is most interesting is that Gomez had to guess twenty years ago where the world would be in approximately sixty years due to environmental degradation. What is sad is that, as the earth has moved closer to that date, her predictions have become more accurate. Gilda ends the book as she started it, being hunted, but she also ends it with hope and love.

    The Gilda Stories can appeal to a wide range of readers. The story moves along very smoothly and is very informative. Vampire lovers, feminists, lesbians and African Americans will all find something in this book. That’s why it’s a classic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2004

    I loved This Book!!!! OMG

    This book takes you on a journey that is out of this world Gomez is a wondeful writter and I can't wait to read more from her you will simply fall in love with the story line. Get Lesbian book!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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