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Eat the Mouth That Feeds You (City Lights)
Carribean Fragoza's debut collection of stories reside in the domestic surreal, featuring an unusual gathering of Latinx and Chicanx voices from both sides of the U.S./Mexico border, and universes beyond.
This stunningly original collection of stories illuminates a spectrum of Latinx, Chicanx, and immigrant women's voices. In confrontations with fraught matrilineal lines, absent or abusive fathers, and the effects of historical violence, these women and girls navigate a male-dominated world where they rely on a resilient mujer network to get them through sometimes supernatural obstacles.
In visceral, embodied prose, Fragoza's imperfect characters are drawn with an authentic, sympathetic tenderness as they struggle against circumstances and conditions designed to defeat them. A young woman returns home from college, only to pick up exactly where she left off: a smart girl in a rundown town with no future. A mother reflects on the pain and pleasures of being inexorably consumed by her small daughter, whose penchant for ingesting grandma's letters has extended to taking bites of her actual flesh. A brother and sister watch anxiously as their distraught mother takes an ax to their old furniture, and then to the backyard fence, until finally she attacks the family's beloved lime tree. Victories are excavated from the rubble of personal hardship, and women's wisdom is brutally forged from the violence of history that continues to unfold on both sides of the US-Mexico border.
The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Carribean Fragoza was raised in South El Monte, California. After graduating from UCLA, Fragoza completed the Creative Writing MFA Program at CalArts, where she worked with writers Douglas Kearney and Norman Klein. Fragoza is founder of Vicious Ladies, a new website publishing womxn, queer, and non-binary critics of color. She co-edits UC Press's acclaimed California cultural journal, Boom California, and is also the founder of South El Monte Arts Posse, an interdisciplinary arts collective. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous publications, including Zyzzyva, Alta, BOMB, Huizache, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She is the co-editor of East of East: The Making of Greater El Monte and Senior Writer at the Tropics of Meta. Carribean is the Coordinator of the Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Award at Claremont Graduate University, and she lives in the San Gabriel Valley in LA County.
Myriam Gurba is a queer spoken-word performer, visual artist, and writer from Santa Maria, California. She's the author of Dahlia Season (2007, Manic D) which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, Wish You Were Me (2011, Future Tense Books), and Painting Their Portraits in Winter (2015, Manic D). She has toured with Sister Spit and her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. She lives in Long Beach, where she teaches social studies to eighth-graders.
Praise for Eat the Mouth That Feeds You:
"In Carribean Fragoza's weirdly sweet short story collection Eat the Mouth that Feeds You, eyebrows are Sharpie-thin, children say I love you with axes, and dying is an adventure. Her Chicanx gothic tales root horror in the most terrifying of places, the family. The creepiest pockets of the Brown imagination are her playground. Eat the Mouth That Feeds You renders the feminine grotesque at its finest."—Myriam Gurba, author of Mean
"Eat the Mouth That Feeds You is an accomplished debut with language that has the potential to affect the reader on a visceral level, a rare and significant achievement from a forceful new voice in American literature."—Kali Fajardo-Anstine, New York Times Book Review, and author of Sabrina and Corina
"Every story in this luminous collection creates its own lush, beautiful, and utterly singular universe. Carribean Fragoza reaches deep into the bodies and souls of her subjects, and writes about desire and fear like few other writers can. Eat the Mouth That Feeds You will establish Fragoza as an essential and important new voice in American fiction."—Héctor Tobar, author of The Barbarian Nurseries
"The magic realism of Eat the Mouth That Feeds You is thoroughly worked into the fabric of the stories themselves, strung through the warp and weft of family, community, and what it means as a child, as a mother, as a woman, to both belong and not belong. These are powerful stories about making one's way, and about the things that keep a grip on you no matter where you are, even if you're dead."—Brian Evenson, author of Song for the Unraveling of the World
"Fragoza's prose, a switchblade of a magical glow, cauterizes as it cuts. In a setting of barren citrus trees, poison-filled balloons, and stuccos haunted by the menace of the past, Eat the Mouth That Feeds You reinvents the sunny noir."—Salvador Plascencia, author of The People of Paper
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