“They don’t know that we easily forget them, who they might be. All we ever remember is their scars.”
– The Gilda Stories
I’ll admit that I am not particularly drawn to vampire novels. I don’t know why; I guess I just always think of Twilight and immediately assume the worst (apologies to any Twilight fans who may be reading). But when I found out about this LGBTQ vampire novel penned by a Black, lesbian author in the early 1990s, I knew that I would never again think of vampire novels in the same light.
The Gilda Stories tells of the life, death (we are talking about a vampire here), and adventures of a Black, lesbian woman in America: her escape from being enslaved in 1850, all the way up to a scarily premonitory, capitalism-gone-wrong dystopian future in 2050.
The book is split up into eight chapters, which each essentially hold their own as a short story, giving us a relatively quick peek into Gilda’s long life a few decades at a time. With each story, we see Gilda growing as a (human?) being. The things she experiences, and the people (and other vampires) that she meets, all imprint upon her different strengths and flaws. She turns both pleasure and pain into lessons to be learned.
The character development in this book is absolutely breathtaking. The relationships that Gilda forms are beautiful, and some tragic. Her longing for a place to belong, despite her aversion to commitment, is something that I related with deeply. (I also low-key want to hang out with Sorel and Anthony and drink champagne.)
Without giving away too much, chapter seven Gilda was my favorite: a famous romance novelist living in the rural Northeast. The description of her fashion choices; hiking boots, vests, and flannels, made my heart burst.
The only thing I disliked about this book was the ending: the fact that it ended. I want more Gilda! So, I was very happy to hear that a TV adaption is in the works. Read this book now, so you can be the one who read the book before it got popular.