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How Winter Began: Stories (Flyover Fiction) Paperback – October 1, 2015
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About the Author
Joy Castro is a professor of both English and ethnic studies at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She is the author of two thrillers: Hell or High Water, winner of the 2013 Nebraska Book Award and the National Latino Book Club’s book of the month selection; and Nearer Home. She is also the author of such acclaimed nonfiction as Island of Bones: Essays and The Truth Book: A Memoir, both published by the University of Nebraska Press.
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Top customer reviews
The 28 short stories are all of women, at different stages of life and socio-economic levels, married and single, kids and no kids, and with settings in the mid-West to Brazil.
Some of the stories are startling in their presentation, like the story of the young waitress who does whatever it takes to provide for her child or the ones depicting violence (Josefa and How Winter Began). Other stories are quieter, as in the one titled River-one of my favorites. And yet others, a quiet startling read: Personal Effects.
There may be some readers who don't like all of the stories, but that would probably be because of the topic as these are well crafted stories. I've read previous books by this writer and look forward to more as I know I'll be taken into a realm where I'll get lost for a few hours and be amazed by the words of this writer.
This is underdog territory. In the first story, an impoverished food worker jumps into a river on a hundred dollar wager made by her revolting clients. It’s an act that captures in microcosm the whole book: people on the margins sticking a middle finger up at the mostly white male monsters that dominate their world.
My favorite story here is “Independence Day,” based on an episode that took place during the California Gold Rush: a Mexican woman stabbed to death a white, racist fortune-seeker who had broken down her door and insulted her. As a portrait of defiance in the face of injustice, it could hardly be bettered, and the last line will leave you speechless.
If I had to use one word to describe this collection, it would be “fierce.” Time and again, the characters rise up and do battle against their own devastating predicaments. Motifs recur throughout the collection: the cleansing and obliterating power of water, the hangman’s noose, and the bitter taste of betrayal.
Above all, the writing is flawless. If an angel fell to Earth and landed on a patch of Nowhere in Twenty-First Century America, mouth full of dust, skin scraped raw, this is the book she would write.
This is a version of a review on [...]
I was touched by simple observations of a young boy who notices how pathetic it is for a kids of poor parents to wear gray colored underwear; but when he sees his young female friend being abused by her brother so her underwear is on display he notices that somehow gray cotton underwear from discount stores looked so much worse on a girl.
This is a very good writer with keen ability to observe and write about modern day society with all its horrific qualities. She is able to notice and write about class differences and cruelty that is overwhelming at times. It has no excuses for rich people being cruel to the poor, or poor people taking it on against each other. Very talented writer, very powerful stories
It wasn't until I read some of the reviews for Joy Castro's "How Winter Began" that I realized that, yes, most of her protagonists are female, and a good part of those are Latina. Although all of the characters live in circumstances that are impacted by their gender, or their ethnicity, or their sexual orientation, the emphasis is on their humanity; the common thread of adversity that most of us face.
Breaking down the barriers of discrimination is done by emphasizing the things that make us alike, while acknowledging our differences. The first step is to recognize that there is a common ground. Joy Castro doesn't preach; she simply and distinctly frames a common theme - the grinding weight of economic inequality, and then personalizes it through the eyes of a Latina waitress. It is a deeply personal story, but its quality lies in the universality of its subject.
"How Winter Began" presents the challenges that we all face: the intricacies of family and personal relationships, the challenges of economic and gender inequality, the stain of discrimination due to race or sexual orientation; and then puts us in the lives of characters who are directly in that path. The individual battles may be different, but the struggle is universal.
Most recent customer reviews
I have mixed feelings on the stories in the book.Read more
How Winter Began: Stories is a collection of based on women facing physical and emotional struggles.Read more