Eat the Mouth That Feeds You

Carribean Fragoza. City Lights, $14.95 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-0-87286-833-5
Fragoza’s debut collection delivers expertly crafted tales of Latinx people trying to make sense of violent, dark realities. Magical realism and gothic horror make for effective stylistic entryways, as Fragoza seamlessly blurs the lines between the corporeal and the abstract. In “Lumberjack Mom,” the narrator’s father nearly destroys the family’s beloved lime tree, and her distraught mother takes up a ruthless form of landscaping. In “Sabado Gigante,” a young man competes on a variety show in hopes of leaving his family’s past behind him. Fragoza’s characters are earnest while remaining complicated and conflicted. They speak to diverse immigrant experiences, stand up to patriarchal structures, and ground themselves in hope for a better future. In one of the most effective stories, “Tortillas Burning,” the protagonist describes her state of poverty with depth and clarity: “There’s a way to make room for hunger, to hold it, embrace it. But this was a lonely hunger, the kind that separates you from others, and that’s what hurts the most.” With haunting prose and an aptitude for the surreal, Fragoza emerges as a distinctive voice. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/05/2021
Release date: 10/01/2020
Genre: Fiction
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