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The Magic of Blood

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  206 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Dagoberto Gilb is a powerful and important new talent in American fiction. Fresh, funny, relentless, and beautifully crafted, his writing possesses that rare Chekhovian ability to perfectly capture the nuances of ordinary life and make it resonate with unexpected meaning.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 4th 1994 by Grove Press
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Community Reviews

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Steve
May 16, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it
If Raymond Carver got stoned and had a love child with a plate of fajitas and a twelve back of Budweiser, that love child would call itself Dagoberto Gilb and then punch you in the face for making such a stupid analogy.

Dagoberto Gilb is a tough dude. He writes about tough dudes. And he writes about tough dudes being tough dudes, and only does the reader get to know that these tough dudes aren't so much tough as they are pretty damn hopeless. It's quite a trick he pulls off (see Parking Places o
...more
Travis
Mar 28, 2016 Travis rated it liked it
Southwestern grit lit. In some way, every story involves a male laborer battling unemployment and/or exploitation. Deals a lot with sickness, violence, pride, masculinity, addiction, prejudice, and desperation. Includes undocumented laborers from Mexico, but I'm especially interested in the characters who leave Texas and New Mexico looking for work in California. Everything here revolves around work or the lack of it. Some of these are just character experiments. All are pretty short, some so mu ...more
Eddie Vato
Oct 11, 2011 Eddie Vato rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vato 101: The Magic of Blood, by Dagoberto Gilb

You have to feel never married. You have to wear an almost new football jersey. It has to take place in East L.A. You have to think about the possibility before it happens.

– from “Recipe”, by Dagoberto Gilb. The Magic of Blood.

One time I asked my moms whatever happened to Pops and she slapped the shit out of me and was like, “Eddie Vato, don’t you ever ask about that culo maricon ever again!"

But lemme tell you, fools, if I ever did have a pops the
...more
Athena Kennedy
In this collection of short stories, Dagoberto Gilb made a compelling case for why i felt the need to add some American literature to my reading list. His characters, mainly working-class Hispanic men, were incredibly real and compelling.


Reviewing a collection of short stories is more challenging for me than reviewing a novel - because each story is unique, but too short to merit its own time. So here I will discuss some of the stories I found stayed with me long after I put the book down. The
...more
Jim
Jan 14, 2013 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because Junot Diaz said that he was a big influence. I am not sure that Gilb is great, but I sure liked the El Paso/Los Angeles connection. I think my favorite stories had to do with construction (including the one guy everyone was afraid of, and the exposition of the class system on a job site -- I have some not much experience); the high school girlfriend sacrificed on the altar of a boy's preening fears of his homie's opinions; the mood of the late night visit of an old party budd ...more
Jeremy
Apr 17, 2010 Jeremy rated it really liked it
When you think about describing Charles Bukowski (or me) as a misogynist, read some Gilb.

Women in Gilb's stories are owned objects to be treated properly or not (like good boots, or fancy hats). They are circumstances to be dealt with--endured, enjoyed, escaped (like a mean boss at a good-paying job, or a beautiful lover's rank breath).

But they're not characters, which is to say they are not presented as people.

It's human to hate and love other people. To be genuinely loved or hated is to be tho
...more
Natalie
Apr 13, 2016 Natalie rated it did not like it
Since book preferences are a very subjective thing I don't wanna go into detail. however, I find the shortness of the stories somewhat dissaüointing since the content is cut out out of everyday situations that - at least that's how I feel - I had a hard time getting into it. However u can relate to one or two stories
Brandon
Apr 01, 2008 Brandon rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. I had never heard of the author, I picked the volume up for a steal at a thrift store and was generally blown away. I don't for the most part generally go in for collections of short stories. I often feel that the ones I like end when I wish them to be a novel, only to be replaced by a story I like less. I don't find that to be the case with this book. While it contains a variety of characters it has a consistent believable realness to each voice that sustains the int ...more
Liz Reyes
Aug 09, 2014 Liz Reyes rated it really liked it
I read this book years ago and still remember loving it. Catching up now on some of his other books.
Todd
Jan 08, 2012 Todd rated it liked it
This book gets in the way of itself. It's like sending the kids to the store with the request "get the ingredients for dinner." You'll just end up with everything, not the ingredients you need. There are some great stories in here, but I was *thankful* when I finally finished this book that deserved better editing (as far as length) than it got.
Brian
Sep 28, 2013 Brian rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
Interesting Carver-esque stories of working class and immigrant life. Gilb has an absolutely devastating gift for humorous understatement sometimes, so that the manifest comedy of many of the characters he writes about starts to leak out over the course of a story.
Ashley
Nov 30, 2009 Ashley rated it it was amazing
I loved this collection of short stories in graduate school. Dagoberto Gilb writes realistic stories of the struggles that working class Californians, presumably Mexican Americans, go through. The stories are provocative and passionately written.
Manatee
Oct 17, 2008 Manatee rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: working people, humans
Utterly compelling. Wonderfully written, funny and very memorable. "Churchgoers" is one of my all time favorite short stories. Gilb writes about work and its meaning in a very unique voice all his own.

Susan
Aug 24, 2013 Susan rated it liked it
Gave it a try; he can depict with vividness Latin-American immigrant life in the southwest. I read it because Junot Diaz cited Gilb as an author he appreciates. I think Diaz is better.
Guillermo
Nov 26, 2007 Guillermo marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: authors-i-met
I read a few of these stories back in 2005 and then got to meet him a year later. From the few that I read, this book is really great. I'll give a better review when I read the rest of it.
Max P
Dec 05, 2010 Max P rated it liked it
I'm not a huge short story fan, but I really enjoyed these. Short, plot-driven stories about working class Mexican-Americans in LA and the Southeast. Reminds me of Hemingway.
Mac
Nov 13, 2008 Mac marked it as to-read
A professor (hi Rus, if you're out there) raves about this guy. Found it at an antique store, along with some old Star Wars memorabilia. Strangely, I only bought this.
Mike Heyd
Apr 19, 2015 Mike Heyd rated it really liked it
Seemingly simple but profoundly insightful slice-of-life stories of blue-collar life in California and the southwestern United States.
Adfitz
Jun 19, 2009 Adfitz rated it really liked it
Solid short stories about working class adventures and transformations. Definitely worth picking up. Gilb has a good ear for dialogue.
Ron
Mar 20, 2012 Ron rated it it was amazing
Read my review at my blog.
Katie
May 19, 2008 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
frequently powerful stories about working class mexican-american life, mostly in texas. recommended.
Shannon
Mar 18, 2008 Shannon rated it it was amazing
For anyone living in the Land of Enchantment (although this takes place in AZ).
Jaime Luna
Jaime Luna marked it as to-read
Aug 23, 2016
Stacy
Stacy added it
Aug 22, 2016
Melanie Haws
Melanie Haws marked it as to-read
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Sara
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Aug 06, 2016
Susan Cooke
Susan Cooke marked it as to-read
Jul 29, 2016
Carlton Duff
Carlton Duff marked it as to-read
Jul 28, 2016
Sergio Navarro
Sergio Navarro rated it it was ok
Jul 22, 2016
Lisa Flores
Lisa Flores marked it as to-read
Jul 19, 2016
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Dagoberto Gilb was born in the city of Los Angeles, his mother a Mexican who crossed the border illegally, and his father a Spanish-speaking Anglo raised in East Los Angeles. They divorced before he began kindergarten. He attended several junior colleges until he transferred to the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he studied philosophy and religion and graduated with both bachelor'
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“This morning I heard: the hesitancy in her voice wasn't ordinary sincerity but a lot of it, and her tone wasn't only friendly, it was intimate, private, longing. The words, quiet and simple as they were, were strong, deep tosses that landed close, and loud.” 5 likes
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