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First Fiction Friday: The Girl Who Cried Diamonds & Other Stories
A literary-speculative hybrid debut by Rebecca Hirsch Garcia The Girl Who Cried Diamonds & Other Stories (ECW Press) is a collection of 14 dark, uncanny stories that bring to mind writers like Carmen Maria Machado, Kim Fu, and André Alexis.
What: The Girl Who Cried Diamonds & Other Stories (ECW Press, 2023)
Who: Rebecca Hirsch Garcia lives in Ottawa, Ontario. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Ottawa and serves as the current chair of the Youth Infringement Board. Her work has appeared in The Threepenny Review, PRISM international, The Dark and has won the O. Henry Prize.
Why you need to read this now:
The Girl Who Cried Diamonds & Other Stories is a dark, magnetic collection by newcomer Rebecca Hirsch Garcia, and the short pieces within it are so self-assured, so accomplished, that it’s hard to fathom that this is Garcia’s debut. This literary-speculative hybrid work, sometimes verging on horror, is as mundane as it is uncanny, begging comparisons to other masters of this liminal genre such as Carmen Maria Machado and André Alexis.
The pieces in the book are diverse in subject but all focus in on the personal, examining the complexity of individual identity and of interpersonal relationships, and each is elevated by Garcia’s direct, original prose and keen human insight.
“A Golden Light” is the most celebrated piece in the collection, published in The Threepenny Review and also the winner of the O’Henry Prize. In this story, a young girl reckons with the death of her father and her shifting familial dynamics while slowly mysteriously losing her physical senses. In the collection’s novella, “Woman into Cloud,” a tired wife and mother struggles with the limitations of her life and body and escapes by suddenly shapeshifting into a cloud. In “Mother,” a woman is captured and held against her will, the story expertly told through the warped perspective of the young daughter of the kidnapper. In the titular story, “The Girl Who Cried Diamonds,” a young girl from a small unnamed pueblo in Latin America is blessed, actually cursed, with the ability to produce gems from her bodily fluids—a smart examination of exploitation on institutional and human scales.
Each story in this collection is uniquely unsettling, and each asks the reader to sit with their discomfort, as so much great art does. This discomfort is heightened by a frequent focus on the mundane–the horror inherent in merely existing in the modern world, especially in a female- or non-white-coded body. It makes for an enlightening—and remarkably disturbing—reading experience.
X + Y
The Girl Who Cried Diamonds & Other Stories is Kim Fu’s Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century meets Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties
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