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Fresh Dirt from the Grave

Giovanna Rivero · Charco Press · 2023 · 155 pp

Cuento · Violencia

In Fresh Dirt from the Grave , a hillside is “an emerald saddle teeming with evil and beauty.” It is this collision of harshness and tenderness that animates Giovanna Rivero’s short stories, where no degree of darkness (buried bodies, lost children, wild paroxysms of violence) can take away from the gentleness she shows all violated creatures. A mad aunt haunts her family, two Bolivian children are left on the outskirts of a Metis reservation outside Winnipeg, a widow teaches origami in a women’s prison and murders, housefires, and poisonings abound, but so does the persistent bravery of people trying to forge ahead in the face of the world. They are offered cruelty, often, indifference at best, and yet they keep going. Rivero has reworked the boundaries of the gothic to engage with pre-Columbian ritual, folk tales, sci-fi and eroticism, and found in the wound their humanity and the possibility of hope.