Before the End, After the Beginning
“Blessing” appears in Dagoberto Gilb’s story collection, Before The End, After The Beginning (Grove/Atlantic, 2011). Gilb’s previous books include The Magic of Blood (1993), which won the PEN/Hemingway Award, and The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuña (1994), which was a New York Times Notable Book. He is also the author of an earlier story collection, the highly regarded Woodcuts of Women (2001). His short fiction has been published in The Threepenny Review, Ploughshares, and The New Yorker.
Gilb’s collection tells stories of men who are both Mexican and American, who are cultured and uncouth.
ZZ Packer had this to say about the book: “Dagoberto Gilb’s mission is not to dazzle and amaze, but to implode myths and misconceptions, to expose us to forgotten and subterranean characters in constant transition and exile; characters inured to injury and pain, heartbreak and woe – yet who never jettison hope for a better life, nor a future uncertain, yet still very much possible. These Chicano dreamers are lovelorn and love-tossed, broken-yet-healing, but most of all, on the road to recovery from an America that shuts its eyes and ears at their very existence. Gilb shows us that every man, woman and child is a citizen of hope, succors the birthright of love and freedom in their hearts, and can, and will, emerge victorious.”
Bridget Kevane in the New York Times wrote: “Where are we when we are before the end yet after the beginning? We are in the midst of life, where everything happens. Before the end and after the beginning, one celebrates a perfect sixth birthday, looks for a job, has an affair, remembers old girlfriends, suffers a stroke. These are the moments Dagoberto Gilb describes in his elegiac third story collection.”