April 23


Stuck in the middle

As an introduction, “please, thank you,” the opener in Dagoberto Gilb’s most recent collection of short stories, Before the End, After the Beginning, is a bit disorienting. This first story is written without apostrophes or capitalization and feels a bit like a prose poem. Dramatized as a sloppily typed journal entry, it tells the story of Mr. Sanchez, a strong, defiant man weakened by a stroke. “hard to think where i am,” Gilb writes, “and what happened to me. i dream but nothing familiar to my own history. one of them comes in and is telling me something. words as blurry as sight.”

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