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The Gilda Stories

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  2,153 ratings  ·  304 reviews
The winner of two Lambda Literary Awards (fiction and science fiction) The Gilda Stories is a very lesbian American odyssey. Escaping from slavery in the 1850s Gilda's longing for kinship and community grows over two hundred years. Her induction into a family of benevolent vampyres takes her on an adventurous and dangerous journey full of loud laughter and subtle terror. ...more
Paperback, 252 pages
Published April 1st 1991 by Firebrand Books
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Cat Depends on the 16 year old, but generally it would be fine.

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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  2,153 ratings  ·  304 reviews

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K.J. Charles
A remarkable book. I generally don't like vampire books for many many reasons, one of which is that the common trope of 'oh no, I am forced to be an exploitative predator, my trauma' makes me want to punch MCs in the fictional face. This is different.

Gilda (as she becomes) starts off as an escaped slave, a little girl who's fled the cotton fields now her mother has died, leaving her family. She's taken in by a vampire, who turns her with consent and care, and who teaches her the first lesson: y
My first encounter with Gilda was by way of the 2015 anthology Ghost: 100 Stories to Read with the Lights On, edited by Louise Welsh. It includes a story from this book, ‘Off-Broadway, 1971’. I was instantly spellbound, and bought The Gilda Stories as soon as I’d finished it. (Literally. I read the story standing up in my kitchen, and ordered the book online before I’d even sat down; that's how rapt I was.)

The Gilda Stories introduces the title character as a slave girl in Louisiana, 1850. Some
Raul Bimenyimana
The first book about vampirism that I've read and this was really good. This book follows the life of Gilda for a two hundred year period, set in different parts of the U.S.

Beginning in Louisiana, we meet her as "The Girl", who has recently escaped the plantation where she and her family were enslaved. She is offered a home ina brothel named Woodard owned and operated by Gilda, and her lover Bird, who later brings her into her vampiric family and the protagonist takes her name too.

This was a th
I read my first Jewelle L. Goméz short story Storyville 1910 published in the Heiresses of Russ 2011 a year ago. It was about Gilda - the main character – visiting Woodards, the place that used to be her home. I found The Gilda Stories while I was looking for more information about the author and was so happy that I was able to read more about this intriguing black lesbian vampire.

Goméz wrote the book in the early 90ies, way before Buffy and those sparkling Twilight twats and I think if you are
As I enthusiastically told friends I was reading and immensely enjoying this cycle of lesbian vampire stories, I would get vaguely patronizing smiles in response–I guess anything vampire-related gets that reaction these days–forcing me to trumpet all the more Gomez’s dazzling ability to intricately braid together the stuff of history, race, desire, time, and (im)mortality into a series of narratives that are not only compulsively entertaining to read, but poignant and thought provoking as well. ...more
I was sent this book as a review copy by the publisher via Edelweiss for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

This book was so good. It’s about a Black runaway enslaved girl who's taken under the wing of two vampire women who are a couple. When she is old enough to be able to decide for herself, she lets herself be turned into a vampire under the promise of keeping alive the “ethical code” by which her mentors live (never take anything without leaving something behind). This is ma
True Reader
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
First and foremost, I am not one for vampire novels. Vampires on the silver screen, or even the TV, I can deal with. But I’m afraid Stephanie Meyer ruined vampire literature for me. If you’re a Twilight fan, I’m very sorry, but I deplore the entire series for a number of reason–if you’d like them, well, leave some comments and I’ll write up a separate post for that. Anyway… the vampires I like are the ones from Buffy the Vampire Slayer–Spike, I’ll find a leather jacket like yours someday and ble ...more
Tyler J Gray
4.25 Lovely and thought-provoking
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer-sff
This was the second book I read in August that was 1) originally published in 1991 and 2) heavily informed by feminist and environmentalist thinking. Of the two, the Gilda Stories hold up much better today, 27 years on. There's plenty of technological detail in the futuristic settings that's outdated, but the ideas themselves are still extraordinarily relevant. There is some really gorgeous reflection in these stories about family, love, and community, about the tension between fitting in and fi ...more
ONYX Pages
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars

6.5/7 Cowries

Watch my review here:

Para (wanderer)
I first heard of The Gilda Stories from a Tor article a friend linked. I don't usually read vampire books as I don't like vampires as a trope very much (or urban fantasy as a subgenre), but it's one of this year's r/Fantasy Bingo squares and the concept seemed interesting enough.
"Each time I thought taking a stand, fighting a war would bring the solution to the demons that haunted us. Each time I thought slavery or fanaticism could be banished from the earth with a law or a battle. Each time
Shalon Lippert
I couldn't get past the 2nd "episode". I found the whole thing terribly boring and realized it was time to give up when I started skimming whole paragraphs. The narrative was too slow and internal and the language and ideas were repetitive, fixating on the same things again and again: family, exile, the past, sharing, social fabric, oral tradition blah blah blah. The story didn't seem to move and felt like I was turning a lump of lead over and over expecting to find something different on the ot ...more
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: women-and-horror
I wanted to love this but found the protagonist pretty dull and too right all the time. My illustrious book club co-leader Liza pointed out that Gilda functions as a Black lesbian superhero which I get behind 110%; would love to see this as a graphic novel or movie--lots of action and so much scene; transhistorical storyline; epic potential! As a book, the language and description kinda drag and the protag has too much darn integrity to fully capture my interest.
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
ok constantly wishing I could give books to my teenage self, but rn RLLY wishing I could slam this one back in time, directly into my own face. if I could have had a black lesbian vampire taking me through time, showing me what black & queer love/community have looked like & can look like through time/place, I would have been unstoppable??

but also like what @ Jewelle Gomez has given to us is a vulnerable reflection on the hard work of loving (she touches on many kinds of love), and how challengi
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5 rounded down. I feel as if I have been consuming vampire stories all my life in search of this book, which is the only vampire tale that ever needed to exist. The slightly dated writing style and voice took a little getting used to, but very quickly I was breezing through this, hungrily surrendering to this epic yet understated tale of being black and indigenous and queer in America through the ages. This is a celebration of found families and community-building by those who aren't meant to ...more
Jun 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Yes, my spouse got me to read another novel!

When left to my own devises, I tend to stay up into the wee hours of the morning and don't rise again until well into the afternoon, I hate garlic, and I avoid direct sun exposure. These and other habits might expose me as a vampire, except that the closest I come to drinking blood is an occasional glass of sangria.

I'm not really interested in the vampire genre of popular literature, but this one is different. Vampire literature is usually about how
Priscilla (Bookie Charm)
2.5 stars*

The Gilda Stories are a series of episodic tales spanning 200 years, beginning in 1850 and ending in 2050, that follow a black, lesbian vampire. Gilda is a young girl when she escapes slavery and is changed into a vampire as a young adult. The bulk of this story is centered on Gilda's aimless wandering as she comes to terms with her immortality and her connections to her found family.

Before I air out my grievances, I'll start by addressing all the themes I loved. Gilda and her family
Dec 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Three words: Black Lesbian Vampire!
Seriously, this was really good even though I thought the books vision of the future was kinda bleak, I loved every page of this a lot.
Apr 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is amazing! i cant believe that it exists and that i haven't read it until now, but i am also just really grateful that it was written and has been made more available to read. it is a beautiful depiction and (hopeful) prophetic imagining of black queer community and mutual aid while also being a story of resilience and the contentious struggle against white-supremacy, colonialism, and ecological destruction. this novel also manages to depict a life that is adjacent to (simply by proximity ...more
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical-wlw
holy shit........
Alex (The Bookubus)
In a nutshell The Gilda Stories could be described as Beloved by Toni Morrison meets Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. But it's also so much more than that. It begins in 1850 and follows a girl escaping from slavery who is taken under the wing of a brothel owner. Adjusting to her new life and connecting with other people, she takes a step further and is introduced to the life of the vampire. The story then spans the next two hundred years and each chapter is devoted to a particular time a ...more
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
[This was the first book I read on a e-reader. It went very quickly, perhaps too quickly. I felt I was eating empty calories or swallowing without chewing. I did greatly appreciate the magnification and the bright backlight of the e-reader. But at what cost or tradeoff to the reading enjoyment? I remain quite agnostic about reading in this format. Please recognize these factors in my review. ]

I enjoyed the story and the writing. I think the premise of an escaped African slave who becomes a vampi
Bogi Takács
Review coming soon IY"H (I'm reviewing it for an SFF website)

Source of the book: Bought with my own money
Kristin B. Bodreau
Feb 22, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: alphabet
I have a text document that I use to write out most of my reviews before I put them on Goodreads. When I opened it these were the first few lines:

“(Redacted book title) is a solid three stars. Not for depth, creativity, literary merit, plot or character development. Simply for entertainment value. It was fun to read. There was no heavy lifting and while the characters weren’t particularly complex, they were enjoyable.”

I mention this because The Gilda Stories is pretty much the exact opposite. A
I JUST. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

I really, really, really loved this.
anna marie
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own

[vampyers drinking blood but ... make it mutual aid!!!]
Kelly W.
I first became aware of this book after several conversations with a friend/colleague, who is writing a dissertation chapter about The Gilda Stories. For whatever reason, I wasn’t aware that the book was about vampires - much less lesbian vampires. I just had a vague idea of speculative fiction floating in my mind, so when I actually realized what was going on, I was even more excited to read the book. If you’re a fan of lgbt+ literature, I’d highly recommend giving this book a try, even if you’ ...more
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
‘The Gilda Stories’ are a series of tales stretching across 200 years and following an escaped slave, who is renamed Gilda when she becomes a vampire. Gilda and her vampire compatriots are thoughtful in their approach to immortality and careful in their taking of blood. Those vampires that Gilda associates with do not kill their victims, but rather leave them with something in return for their blood, like a pleasant dream. I enjoyed the atmosphere of this novel and its sense of history’s progres ...more
"Some are said to live through the energy of fear. That is their sustenance more than the sharing. The truth is we hunger for connection to life, but it needn't be through horror or destruction. Those are just the easiest links to evoke. Once learned, this lesson mustn't be forgotten. To ignore it, to wallow in death as the white man has done, can only bring bitterness."

This book is amazing, the characters are lovely and the vampire mythology is completely turned on its head to serve Gomez's pur
*For an own voices perspective, read the amazing review over at The Black Lesbian Literary Collective!*

Growth, survival, family and unquestioned lesbian love are key touch stones in this Intersectional Feminist vampire classic. Cont'd on the blog:
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Queer Qulture Qlub: Thoughts on January 2021 Book. 1 5 Jan 04, 2021 06:35PM  
Sirens Conference: The Gilda Stories 2 15 May 16, 2016 09:50PM  

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Jewelle Gomez (b. 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts) is an American writer and cultural worker.

Gomez was raised by her great grandmother, Grace, who was born on Indian land in Iowa to an African American mother and Ioway father. Grace returned to New England before she was 14 when her father died and was married to John E. Morandus, a Wampanoag and descendent of Massasoit, the sachem for whom Massachu

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