Cortez’s first book of short stories—he is also the creator of a graphic novel and the editor of a groundbreaking collection of gay Latino love stories—takes place in the 1970s at a migrant workers camp on the Central Coast and then a small house in Watsonville. The protagonist is a boy nicknamed Gordo, heavyset and likely gay, who must navigate the vagaries of growing up. For Cortez, this is an unpredictable process, made up in equal parts of insecurity and joy. As the 11 pieces here progress, and the character emerges or develops, we cannot help but be reminded yet again of the complexities of living and all the small details and experiences upon which identity depends.
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