Gabriela Garcia on Historical Forces That Shape Individual Lives
In Conversation with Maris Kreizman on The Maris Review Podcast
On the storytellers who read to Cuban factory workers in the mid-19th century:
I was thinking about how almost all of the books championed at that time were from mostly European white male writers. I started to imagine what it would be like to be a woman of color in that workshop, finding inspiration or knowledge in that literary conversation, but also being aware of the fact that you’re only getting it through that one gaze. I was thinking a lot about stories in this whole book: how they function, how they’re passed down, whether any reclamation is possible. So that felt like an interesting entry point for me.
On the weight of family history:
I was thinking about [Jeanette’s] own story and how it’s shaped as much by the stories she’s telling herself about herself and equally the stories that she doesn’t know. I was thinking a lot about that on an individual level, how much family history and intergenerational trauma can shape someone even if they’re not fully aware of all of the layers; and also, on a larger scale, how larger historical forces shape individual lives even if you’re not aware of that history.
Gabriela Garcia is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award and a Steinbeck Fellowship from San Jose State University. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Best American Poetry, Tin House, Zyzzyva, Iowa Review, and elsewhere. She received an MFA in fiction from Purdue and lives in the Bay Area. Of Women and Salt is her first novel.