cover image Both Sides: Stories from the Border

Both Sides: Stories from the Border

Edited by Gabino Iglesias. Agora, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-1-947993-87-7

Many of the 15 short stories in this mixed bag of an anthology are set in the recent past, while others take a step into a frightening dystopian future in which a powerful tyrant defies the law. One gem is Shannon Kirk’s “American Figurehead,” which shrewdly observes the slippery slide from resistance to “merciless eradication of the complicit.” Other standouts are Nicolás Obregón’s poignant “Colibrí,” in which Milagros Posada, the deputy sheriff of a county on the U.S. border with Mexico, has the task of determining the identity of a “young... Mexican-looking” boy, whose body is found in the desert; and Cynthia Pelayo’s “The Lament of the Vejigante,” which explores the casual racism faced by a Puerto Rican and her growing respect for her family’s strength and resilience. Magic realism casts its spell over David Bowles’s “El Sombrerón,” an evocative and disturbing tale of a teenage Guatemalan girl who escapes to the U.S. but is still pursued by a malevolent yet seductive creature. In this timely volume, readers will find rage as well as hope and, occasionally, a dash of spirit-lifting poetry. (Apr.)