Winner of the 2023 Soft Skull-Kimbilio Publishing Prize, a collection of short stories that elaborate the realities of a diasporic existence, split identities, and the beautiful potency of meaningful connections
Primarily told from the perspective of women and children in the Northeast who are tethered to fathers and families in Puerto Rico, these stories explore the cultural confusion of being one person in two places—of having a mother who wants your father and his language to stay on his island but sends you there because you need to know your family. Loudly and joyfully filled with Cousins, Aunts, Grandparents, and budding romances, these stories are saturated in summer nostalgia, and place readers at the center of the table to enjoy family traditions and holidays: the resplendent and universal language of survival for displaced or broken families.
Refusing to shy away from dysfunction, loss, obligation, or interrogating Black and Latinx heritages “If we flip the channels fast enough, we can turn almost anyone Puerto Rican, blurring black and white into Boricua.” Gautier’s stories feature New York neighborhoods made of island nations living with seasonal and perpetual displacement. Like Justin Torres’ We the Animals, or Quiara Alegria Hudes’ My Broken Language, it’s the characters-in-becoming—flanked by family and rich with detail—that animate each story with special frequencies, especially for readers grappling split-identities themselves.