Barry Gifford's The Sinaloa Story tells of DelRay Mudo and Ava Varazo, two down-and-outs looking for a reasonable life and maybe even a little redemption in a corrupt and violent world. Ava is a Mexican prostitute, beautiful and no victim of circumstance. When DelRay falls in love with her at the drive-in whorehouse, she seizes the chance to break free. They take off for Sinaloa, Texas, the lone-dog state where "nothin good ever happens.” The far-out border flunkies they meet—Thankful Priest, the one-eyed former football player; Indio Desacato, Ava’s pimp and a small-town racketeer; Arkadelphia Quantrill Smith, an octogenarian whose father marched with Shelby in the Iron Brigade; and many others—fill out the sinister and electrifying ride.
Introducing Three Cheers: a new feature on the Seven Stories Blog. In this feature, Seven Stories authors dish on three books that helped to mold them over the course of their careers. Check out Barry Gifford's choices below!
by Barry Gifford
Grande Sertao: Veredas (Translated into English as The Devil to Pay in the Backlands by Harriet de Onis). Certainly the greatest of all Portuguese language novels, a truly transformative novel; a unique, surprising narrative that rivals Don Quixote for creativity and meaning. Written by Joao Guimaraes Rosa, Brazilian professor and diplomat.
The Adventures & Misadventures of Maqroll the Gaviereo (Translated from Spanish by Edith Grossman) by Alvaro Mutis, a Colombian raised in Belgium and Colombia and Mexico, best friend of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who called Mutis the finer writer. Marquez was correct: Mutis’s Maqroll novellas are the finest kind of literary adventures. A vastly underrated if not mostly unknown (in the English-speaking and -reading world) master of prose and poetry.
The Collected Novels of Jean Rhys Another mostly undervalued (and misinterpreted) writer. Her novels After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie and Good Morning, Midnight (quote from Emily Dickinson, I believe) are especially good. She did not waste words: taught me how to be concise and direct without sacrificing intent and meaning. Hated being taken up in 1960s and ‘70s by feminists—resented is better word. Once a mistress of Ford Madox Ford’s, she picked up on what the big guns of the ‘20s and ‘30s had to say (Hemingway, Conrad, Pound, et al) and in my opinion outdid them all—except maybe Conrad.