Gabriela and the Widow

Gabriela and the Widow

by Jack Remick


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The Widow (La Viuda) is ninety-two years old. She lives in a house filled with photos and coins, jewels and a sable coat. Aware that her memory is failing but burning with desire to record the story of her life on paper, she hires Gabriela, a nineteen-year-old Mixteca from Mexico. Gabriela is one of the few survivors of a massacre and treacherous journey to El Norte. Gabriela and the Widow is a story of chaos, revenge, and change: death and love, love and sex, and sex and death. Gabriela seeks revenge for the destruction of her village. The Widow craves balance for the betrayals in her life. In the end, the Widow gives Gabriela the secret of immortality.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781603811477
Publisher: Epicenter Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/08/2013
Pages: 280
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

Jack Remick is a poet, short story writer, teacher, and the author of eight novels: Blood, The Deification, Valley Boy, Book of Changes, Trio of Lost Souls, Lemon Custard, Pacific Coast Highway, and Gabriela and The Widow, and a book of poetry, Satori. You can find Jack online at Jack's novel, Gabriela and The Widow, is a finalist for the Montaigne Medal and the 2013 ForeWord Book of the Year Award. For more information, go to

Read an Excerpt

Leaning on the sill of the open window, Gabriela watched the sky fill with a swarm of fireflies like the ones she had seen some evenings in the jungle. The swarm grew until the sky framed by the window glowed like light in a mirror. The light was so bright and the insects so many that they lit up the cactus in front of the steel chain fence and under the cactus the stones on the ground. The swarm of fireflies kept getting bigger and with the swarm there came a dry hard clicking like the sound of teeth chattering.

And then across the sky she saw darting bats.

Black and gray bats swooping through the mirror of light, hundreds of them. Where they struck, holes gaped open in the light, leaving long trails of black. The flutter of wings beat against the rattling of the fireflies and chills ran up Gabriela's arms as the bats turned and swooped, smashing into the glowing swarm of insects until only a few dots remained against the blackness and then there was only the sky, empty, and off in the distance and high up and beyond, stars sparkled. There was silence.

Gabriela glanced down at the table where she had been working on the List--strips of paper overflowing from the box, sheets of paper with long lists of places and objects on them and there, on a strip of yellow paper a single firefly struggled. Its light blinked once, twice, then died. She picked up the strip of paper with the insect on it and walked to La Viuda's room, where light spilled out into the dark hallway.

La Viuda, as always, sat in her nest of pillows reading and as always without glasses. Gabriela looked in. She said,


La Viuda glanced up from her book. She closed it, one finger marking the page. She said,

"Come in child. You look … excited and you're half naked."

"I have seen death, Señora. There were so many and now they are all dead."

"Death excites you so you strip off your clothes?"

Gabriela held out the dead insect. La Viuda scooped up the black dot in the cup of the nail of her little finger. She said,

"This time of year the fireflies battle the bats and always the bats win. But look at you. It worries me if you walk around half-naked like a crazy woman. Are you all right?"

"I am sorry, Señora. It is hot in my room. I will go."

"No, no. There's a negligee in my closet if you're … if you need to put it on."

Gabriela buttoned her shirt and tied the tails in a knot. La Viuda said,

"Come sit with me. What were you doing when this battle took place?"

"The List, Señora. All those pieces of paper. How do I make order out of them?"

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Gabriela and The Widow 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
DRRice More than 1 year ago
Gabriela and the Widow is a compelling story. It is a woman's story, a girl's story with characters that are both well drawn and memorable. At 14, Gabriela is alone, literally, her mother dead, her father murdered, her Mexican village destroyed. The world she finds beyond the village tests Gabriela. She suffers immensely in body, spirit and mind. Yet she retains an intrinsic light and purity within her. Gabriela not only survives life's ordeals, she ascends, taking on  the mantle of La Viuda (the widow) and having her revenge on the men who stole her childhood so many years ago. The tale comes full circle and successfully creates a sense of expansion, of a wheel forever turning, forever grinding. It is a story without end. Jack Remick has a unique facility with language, with words and imagery. He is a conjurer. His confidence in painting and peopling a world and lives that will be foreign to most readers is one of the most compelling aspects of Gabriela and the Widow. Like a subterranean stream, wisdom runs beneath the prose, fed by  rivulets of ancient history, myth and legend. This deep current lends depth that moves the story beyond Gabriela herself and into the realm of the universal. Also of note, the author lapses in and out of Spanish in a way that is always understandable, that lends verite and immediacy to the prose, and that is organic, unobtrusive and addictive.