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The magic of blood: A review of Glib’s book

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writing and literature
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Syracuse...

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book reviews
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  1. Introduction.
  2. The stories in the first section.
  3. The stories in the second section.
  4. That closes the second section.
  5. the ?literary canon? for fiction.
  6. Conclusion.

The Magic of Blood is a peculiar juju. Early on through the book, it wasn't grabbing me, so I went to a Taco Bell and tried reading it there. I'm a veggie, so the menu didn't offer ?greater cultural understanding?, but something in Dagoberto's stories did kick in. I don't think it was my experiment in ?method reading.? The Carver-vibe really is there, a sharp focus on what makes families and relationships tick, it just took me awhile to get used to how Gilb does it. Part of me wants to say that he's so reflective and stylized that it makes him less captivating than Carver. That could also be a statement way too grounded in my own perceptions and my own lack of familiarity with the world within which the stories take place.

[...] If you'd given me the best six, I would have told you he was a champion of letters the same way others did. Voice of the people? A generation? Well, we all want to help a new writer sell some books, or at least I hope someone will help me when I'm good enough, but the bravado's too much, just like the early stories. Finally, would I publish it? Nope. Then again, brutal honesty tells me that I wouldn't publish Corry (unless he could tie the ends up way more) or Gaitskill (unless she was willing to go way creepier) either. [...]


[...] To go back to The Magic of Blood as a concept, it appears that the stories are simultaneously becoming writing and less preachy. This also comes from a broadening of scope. Part Three is nothing if not a further display of the various flaws and complexities already revealed. Senora? doesn't drift until the last scene. I figure that the shorter the story, the less the ending needs to repeat what's just happened. ?They moved on and told this story? (p. [...]


[...] Dagoberto Gilb shows his abilities, and I'm the type of reader who can take whatever I can get but as a writer, I'm looking for certain lessons, trying to learn aspects of technique. Prize? and are strong can't help but like a story called but, even with their sex and violence themes, ?Nancy Flores? is my favorite to learn from. From a different angle, Danced With The Prettiest Girl? is probably the story in the first section that I might be able to write. [...]

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