Ana Castillo’s Loverboys

Ana Castillo’s short story collection Loverboys is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. It’s so smooth, it feels like someone is talking to me and in doing so enchanting me instead of me actively reading. I feel like I’m in a dream while reading it to the point that I sometimes lose sense of the  longer stories’ plots because I am so engrossed in the characters and how vivid they feel.

One of the things I love about Castillo’s writing is her descriptions of food, which always make me ravenous. Loverboys makes me hungrier than any of her other books aside from The Guardians. I also am enthralled by its lesbian love stories because they are so matter-of-fact, which is refreshing. The narrators in all of the stories grab love where they can find it, realizing how precious it is, and do not let its loss crush them, instead moving on to find it somewhere else. It is a hopeful book. It both makes me want to write about it professionally and send it to all of my good friends, a combination that I do not often experience.

Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

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