WHAT NIGHT BRINGS

Carla Mari Trujillo, Author . Curbstone $15.95 (242p) ISBN 978-1-880684-94-8

This first novel by a Chicana writer who has been active as a lesbian anthologist and editor is a pleasant surprise: a lively, picaresque tale, told in the world-weary but ever-hopeful voice of 12-year-old Marci Cruz. Marci's father, Eddie, is a drinker and womanizer who often takes his belt or his fists to Marci and her sister, Corin, but whose wife, the besotted Delia, seems oblivious of his faults. Much of the tale embraces the ingenious ways in which Marci and Corin try to outwit him, or least make their mother see him for the passive-aggressive monster he is; perhaps the most delightful of these is the long saga of their attempt to photograph him, with a cheap box camera lent by a sympathetic uncle, in incriminating situations with his girlfriend. Through all this, Marci is also becoming increasingly aware that she is romantically drawn to other girls and wishes she could become a boy so as to express such feelings appropriately. The lesbian undercurrents are subtle and touching, by no means doctrinaire, and the book, which offers some hope for the girls after a climactic confrontation with Eddie, conveys admiration for their vast resilience in the face of adversity. (Apr.)

Forecast:With strong blurbs from such admirers as Dorothy Allison and Sandra Cisneros, and the recent win of the Miguel Marmol Prize, this should do well with lesbian readers and admirers of Latina literature.

Reviewed on: 04/14/2003
Release date: 04/01/2003
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