Blood Red: Book summary and reviews of Blood Red by Gabriela Ponce

Blood Red

by Gabriela Ponce

Blood Red by Gabriela Ponce X
Blood Red by Gabriela Ponce
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  • Publishes
    Oct 4, 2022
    192 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

The exhilarating English-language debut from celebrated Ecuadorian author Gabriela Ponce, Blood Red centers the female body in a radical exploration of desire, choice, and consequences.

In a torrent of stream-of-consciousness fragments, the unnamed narrator of Blood Red recounts the aftermath of her failed marriage in explicit, sensual detail. She falls in and out of love, parties with her friends, skates around the city at night, does a lot of drugs, and gives in to her impulses. Her internal monologue is punctuated by bouts of trypophobia, an obsessive cataloging of holes that empty, fill, widen, and threaten to swallow her entirely. Blood courses through her every encounter from periods, fights, accidents, wounds, sex, streaming to and from her holey fixation. Blood is a vibrant reminder of her physicality, a manifestation of her interiority, a link to memories and sensations—until its abrupt absence changes everything.

Provocative and raw, Blood Red is a fierce portrayal of a woman navigating the gray—or red—zones of her uncertainties and paradoxical urges. A subversive grappling with what it means to wrest power over one's body, revels in the narrator's autonomy to make choices and face the outcomes, no matter the scale.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"In this unflinching English-language debut from Ecuadorian writer Ponce, a 38-year-old woman wrestles with life-changing decisions...Ponce brings striking candor to the narrator's ambivalence as she undergoes a series of emotional transformations, and Booker expertly captures the rhythm and velocity of Ponce's prose, which skims along the surface before plunging into startling depths...Ponce packs a powerful punch." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"In this English-language debut, as translated by Booker, Ponce's prose is rich and atmospheric, and almost every scene operates on multiple emotional layers...Though the plot is sometimes meandering—and a fair portion of the action is driven by the protagonist's paramours, leading to an occasional sense of passivity—the novel's searing exploration of unrequited love makes up for it. Dark, beautiful, and a little disturbing." - Kirkus Reviews

"The narrator and protagonist of Blood Red…is wild. She bleeds, she runs, she separates herself. She bites, she gets drunk, she rollerskates, she sleeps around, she gets pregnant…in sum, she lives. Following her through caves and bodies is an exercise in risk." - Xavi Ayén, La Vanguardia (Spain)

"Blood Red could be characterized by its multiplicity and a profoundly provocative spirit were it not futile to put a label on it. Those who make it to the end (which is not difficult, as it is a dizzying, captivating read) will find that everything can be doubted, especially in relationships. This impulse puts the novel in the trend of bold, fascinating contemporary narratives by Latin American women writers." - Gabriela Toro, La periódica (Spain)

This information about Blood Red was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Gabriela Ponce

Gabriela Ponce (Quito, 1977) is a fiction writer, playwright and theater director, as well as a professor of performing arts at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador. In 2015, she published her first book Antropofaguitas, which was considered the best book of short stories by the Ministry of Culture. In 2019, she published the novel Sanguínea (Severo Editorial), also published in Spain by Editorial Candaya, which was awarded the Gallegos Lara prize by the Municipality of Quito for Best Novel of the Year. In 2020, she published Solo hay un jardín: en el fondo de todo hay un jardín (La Caída editorial) a compilation of her plays. She is part of Mitómana, performing arts collective and co-founder of the cultural venue Casa Mitómana. She is on the editorial board of Sycorax magazine.

Sarah Booker (North Carolina, 1989) is a literary translator working from Spanish to English and has translated, among others, Cristina Rivera Garza's The Iliac Crest (Feminist Press, 2017; And Other Stories, 2018), Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country (Feminist Press, 2020), and New and Selected Stories (Dorothy Press, 2022) and Mónica Ojeda's Jawbone (Coffee House Press, 2021). Her translations have also been published in journals such as the Paris Review, Asymptote, Latin American Literature Today, 3:am magazine, The Baffler, and Nashville Review.

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