Before the End, After the Beginning by Dagoberto Gilb
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Synopsis

Before the End, After the Beginning is a personal and honest collection of ten exquisite stories from Dagoberto Gilb. The pieces come in the wake of a stroke Gilb suffered at his home in Austin, Texas, in 2009, and a majority of the stories were written over many months of recovery. The result is a powerful and triumphant collection that tackles common themes of mortality and identity and describes the American experience in a raw, authentic vernacular unique to Gilb.
These ten stories take readers throughout the American West and Southwest, from Los Angeles and Albuquerque to El Paso and Austin. Gilb covers territory familiar to some of his earlier work—a mother and son’s relationship in Southern California in the story ‘Uncle Rock’ or a character looking to shed his mixed up past in ‘The Last Time I Saw Junior’—while dealing with themes of mortality and limitation that have arisen during his own illness. Confronting issues of masculinity, sexuality, and mortality, Gilb has recovered and produced what may be his most extraordinary achievement to date.
 

About Dagoberto Gilb

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Dagoberto Gilb's previous books are The Flowers, Gritos, Woodcuts of Women, The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuña, and The Magic of Blood, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many magazines, most recently Harper's, The New Yorker, and Callaloo, and is reprinted widely. Gilb is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and has been a finalist for both the PEN/Faulkner and National Book Critics Circle Award. He makes his home in Austin.
 
Published November 1, 2011 by Grove Press. 209 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Before the End, After the Beginning

Kirkus Reviews

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Gilb suffered a stroke in 2009, and the collection’s opener, “please, thank you,” seems to address that event, recalling the narrator’s recovery and firmly establishing the key elements of his stories: family, prejudice and what’s required to overcome a sense of helplessness.

Sep 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Before the End, After the Beg...

Publishers Weekly

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PEN/Hemingway Award–winner Gilb’s 10 new tales, many written as the author recovered from a 2009 stroke, take on family ties, poverty, labor, and prejudice at the country’s borders, but defy racial an

Aug 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Before the End, After the Beg...

The New York Times

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These are the moments Dagoberto Gilb describes in his elegiac third story collection, “Before the End, After the Beginning.” Enlarge This Image Jean-Luc Bertini Dagoberto Gilb Gilb himself had a stroke in 2009, and the story that opens...

Nov 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Before the End, After the Beg...

Publishers Weekly

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Financial divisions abound, as in “Willows Village,” where the shiftless Guillermo visits a wealthy relation, and the wonderful “Cheap,” the prescience of whose subjects—immigration policy and underpaid laborers—is rivaled only by the explicit address of Arizona’s immigration crackd...

Aug 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Before the End, After the Beg...

NPR

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Dagoberto Gilb has published a new collection of stories, some written before he suffered a stroke in 2009 and some after.

Dec 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Before the End, After the Beg...

New York Journal of Books

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“Other authors may struggle writing from a first-person or third-person point of view and opt to only write in one viewpoint all the time, but Dagoberto Gilb handles writing in either viewpoint masterfully, displaying his talent for powerful storytelling.” Before the End, After the Beginning is a...

Nov 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Before the End, After the Beg...

Los Angeles Times

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He's simply telling good stories: of men who are both Mexican and American, who are cultured and uncouth, who look at wealth from the outside and, occasionally, from within.

Oct 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Before the End, After the Beg...

Washington Independent Review of Books

The first story in Dagoberto Gilb’s new collection Before the End, After the Beginning lacks capital letters or apostrophes.

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San Francisco Chronicle

Dagoberto Gilb, author of the artfully unsettling coming-of-age novel "The Flowers" and the panoramic collection of cultural pieces "Gritos" - which, between essays on machismo and a recipe for coyote, offers his take on a doomed flirtation with Hollywood as well as a not-so-doomed flirtation wit...

Nov 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Before the End, After the Beg...

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