Are We Ever Our Own is a cabinet of wonders filled with uncanny intersections between the mythic and the daily, the spectral and the earthed…. Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes writes with marvelous insight into how the untold stories of the past can continue to haunt the present, and crafts structures that delight and devastate in equal measure—that feel as immense as time itself.”
—Laura van den Berg, author of I Hold a Wolf by the Ears and The Third Hotel
"Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes writes with the poetic fierceness of Lorca, exploring multiple subjectivities in this lyrical story collection on love and art, loss and violence. Fuentes is a poignant and powerful voice in Latinx literature—and beyond.”
—Patricia Park, author of Re Jane
“Are We Ever Our Own reads like an arpeggio: the individual stories strike clear, distinctive notes that, when abutted, come together into a rich, resonant chord. From contemporary Marfa, Texas to revolutionary Cuba, from literal ghosts to implicit ones, the characters are entirely singular and individually rewarding, yet somehow—as the title suggests—somehow feel quietly present in each subsequent narrative. Though spirits and spells indeed appear in these pages, Fuentes doesn't simply write about magic in this collection; she's created it.”
—Xhenet Aliu, author of Brass and Domesticated Wild Things, and Other Stories
"The stories in Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes’ Are We Ever Our Own will haunt readers long after they’ve finished. And perhaps that’s the point. Inventive, hallucinatory, chilling, and globe-spanning, this collection commands attention."
—Chantel Acevedo, author of The Distant Marvels
Winner of the BOA Short Fiction Prize, this follow-up to Fuentes's debut novel, The Sleeping World, bracingly profiles women in the Armando Castell family, originally from Cuba but "strewn across tiny islands and vast continents" and over decades as well. In the opening story, the ghost of real-life sculptor Ana Mendieta, reputedly killed by her husband, haunts the Donald Judd Museum in Marfa, TX, and inspires the scorched-earth first work of teenager Caridad Armando-Mendoza. In other fantasy-edged stories, a woman arrives in town on a storm, vanishes after giving birth, then returns years later to reclaim the daughter who perhaps summoned her, while a traveling musician who plays her father's fiddle feels that it speaks beyond her ("June's voice rising with my bow and echoing in the dark red wood"). Elsewhere, tragedy is visited upon two proud mestizo friends during their town's occupation, downtrodden servant joins the revolution, and a filmmaker traveling to Cuba for the first time resists her controlling boyfriend to make the work she wants. VERDICT Lyrical if tough-minded stories linked by their strong portraiture of women who resist being appropriated by anyone.