This remarkable novel begins in 1850s Louisiana, where Gilda escapes slavery and learns about freedom while working in a brothel. After being initiated into eternal life as one who "shares the blood" by two women there, Gilda spends the next 200 years searching for a place to call home. An instant lesbian classic when it was first published in 1991, The Gilda Stories has endured as an auspiciously prescient book in its explorations of blackness, radical ecology, redefinitions of family, and yes, the erotic potential of the vampire story.
"The Gilda Stories is groundbreaking not just for the wild lives it portrays, but for how it portrays them—communally, unapologetically, roaming fiercely over space and time."—Emma Donoghue, author of Room
"Jewelle Gomez sees right into the heart. In Gilda's stories she has created a timeless journey, taken us back into history and forward into possibility. This is a book to give to those you want most to find their own strength."––Dorothy Allison
"I devoured the 25th anniversary edition of Jewelle Gomez's The Gilda Stories with the same venal hunger as I did when I first read it. I still feel a connection to Gilda: her tenacity, her desire for community, her insistence on living among humanity with all its flaws and danger. The Gilda Stories are both classic and timely. Gilda emphasizes the import of tenets at the crux of black feminism while her stories ring with the urgency of problems that desperately need to be resolved in our current moment."— Therí A. Pickens, author of New Body Politics
"Jewelle Gomez's big-hearted novel pulls old rhythms out of the earth, the beauty shops, and living rooms of black lesbian herstory. Gilda's resilience is a testament to black queer women's love, power, and creativity. Brilliant!"—Joan Steinau Lester, author of Black, White, Other
"In sensuous prose, Jewelle Gomez uses the vampire story as a vehicle for a re-telling of American history in which the disenfranchised finally get their say. Her take on queerness, community, and the vampire legend is as radical and relevant as ever."—Michael Nava, author of The City of Palaces
"This revolutionary classic by a pioneer in black speculative fiction will delight and inspire generations to come."—Tananarive Due, author of Ghost Summer
"The Gilda Stories was ahead of its time when it was first published in 1991, and this anniversary edition reminds us why it's still an important novel. Gomez's characters are rooted in historical reality yet lift seductively out of it, to trouble traditional models of family, identity, and literary genre and imagine for us bold new patterns. A lush, exciting, inspiring read."—Sarah Waters, author of Tipping the Velvet
"The Gilda Stories has been vitally important for the development of a generation of dreamers engaged in radical imagination. It has filled the desires of oppressed and marginalized peoples for stories of the fantastic that wear our faces. It helps so many to understand how to take these mythologies that speak to us, pull them into our flesh, and breathe out visionary communities of resistance."—Walidah Imarisha, co-editor of Octavia's Brood
"Gilda's body knows silk, telepathy, lavender, longing, timeless love, and so much blood. With sensory, action-packed prose and a poet's eye for beauty, Jewelle Gomez gives us an empathy transfusion. This all-American novel of the undead is a life-affirming read."—Lenelle Moïse, author of Haiti Glass
"Jewelle Gomez’s sense of culture and her grasp of history are as penetrating now as twenty-five years ago, and perhaps more so, given the current challenges to black lives. From 'Louisiana 1850’ to 'Land of Enchantment 2050,’ from New Orleans to Macchu Pichu, through endless tides of blood and timeless evocations of place, Gilda’s ensemble of players transports me through two hundred years and a second century of black feminist literary practice and prophecy."—Cheryl Clarke, author of Living As A Lesbian
"The Gilda Stories does what vampire stories do best: hold up a larger-than-life mirror in which we can see our hopes, fears, dreams, and flaws. Gilda provides us with a perspective that is too often lost in American history, and a multicultural vision of a better future for us all, human and vampire alike."—Pam Keesey, author of Daughters of Darkness
"With hypnotic prose, Jewelle Gomez shows the immense power of fantasy and the untold stories of American history."—Cecilia Tan, author of Black Feathers
Jewelle Gomez is a writer and activist and the author of many books including Forty-Three Septembers, Don't Explain, The Lipstick Papers, Flamingoes and Bears, and Oral Tradition. The Gilda Stories was the recipient of two Lambda Literary Awards, and was adapted for the stage by the Urban Bush Women Company in thirteen U.S. cities.
Alexis Pauline Gumbs was named one of UTNE Reader's 50 Visionaries Transforming the World, a Reproductive Reality Check Shero, a Black Woman Rising nominee, and was awarded one of the first-ever Too Sexy for 501c3 trophies. She lives in Durham, North Carolina.