Year of publication: 2018
Keywords: 9/11 novel alternate future Ana Maria Simo books about race Cuban-American authors debut novel dyke fiction dystopian fiction dystopian satire immigrant novel lesbian activist Lesbian Avengers lesbian fiction murder mystery New Racialism pulp noir novels queer fiction Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing sci-fi dystopia telenovela novels
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Ana Simo HEARTLAND 1 Blue Ribbon It all began in the summer of 1976 when I won the Blue Ribbon at Elmira County’s Junior Progymnasmata with “Benbassa,” an inadvertently anti-Semitic fable. In the first of a long series of obfuscations about my person, I pretended to be fifteen to qualify for the contest, when I was just eleven years, seven months, three days and seventeen hours old. At the time I composed “Benbassa,” I didn’t know any Jews, unless one counted the sweltering Rafael Cohen, which no one did, including him. That didn’t keep me from declaiming about The Jew: then, as now, I thought that ignorance about a subject is a rhetorician’s ideal state, an inoculation against false certainties. These I confined to the quickly dispatched, clichéd tale: the miserly moneylender Benbassa is stabbed to death in a dark alley of Constantinople’s Galata by one of his desperate debtors who steals his gold; the murderer, who does not know that the...