“We have life, but this does not mean we are better people. In fact, we must struggle even more than mortals do to remain good. How easy it is for goodness to have no meaning when punishment, retribution- or hell- have no meaning. “ – The Gilda Stories
The Gilda Stories was published in 1991 by author Jewelle Gomez. I chose to read it for the “Read a horror novel by a BIPOC author” prompt in the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. The book is about more than vampires. There are discussions about racism, sexuality and feminism.
The main character is not named at the beginning of the novel. The book begins in Louisiana in 1850 with a young female who has escaped from slavery. Although the bounty hunter caught up with her, she kills him in self-defense. A vampire named Gilda finds the girl and takes her home to care for her. Gilda and her partner decide to bring her into their vampire family.
As time passes, Gilda is ready to end her time on earth. The young girl is given the name Gilda. The new Gilda moves around quite a bit but she learns everything that she can from the elder vampires. My favorite incarnation of Gilda is the reclusive romance novelist. Recreating yourself might be the best part of being a vampire.
Gilda is also a lesbian. The first woman that she has a crush on is a hot mess. After that disastrous relationship, it takes a few hundred years for her to find a special someone. Lucky for her that her new partner is already a vampire.
She also brings a young man into the family. The vampire lifestyle isn’t for everyone so Gilda chooses her family carefully. Whatever life, Gilda chooses, she does try to make life better for those around her. She understands the importance of give and take. When she takes someone’s blood, she leaves something positive in return.
If you enjoy LGBTQ vampire novels, then there is a good chance that you will enjoy this book. It won the Lambda Awards for fiction and science fiction so do what you want to with that information.
If you are a psychopath and a vampire then you might not understand the beauty of The Gilda Stories.