The Gifted Gabald?n Sisters


By Lorraine López

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Having lost their mother in early childhood, the Gabaldón sisters consider Fermina, their elderly Pueblo housekeeper, their surrogate Grandmother. The mysterious Fermina love the girls as if they are her own, and promises to endow each with a “special gift” to be received upon her death.

Mindful of the old woman’s mystical ways, the sisters believe Fermina’s gifts, bestowed based on their natural talents, magically enhance their lives. The oldest sister, Bette Davis Gabaldón, always teased for telling tales, believes her gift is the power to persuade anyone, no matter how outlandish her story. Loretta Young, who often prefers pets to people, assumes her gift is the ability to heal animals. Tough-talking tomboy, Rita Hayworth believes her gift is the ability to curse her enemies. And finally, Sophia Loren, the baby of the family, is sure her ability to make people laugh is her legacy.

As the four girls grow into women they discover that Fermina’s gifts come with complicated strings, and what once seemed simple can confuse over time. Together they learn the truth about their mysterious caretaker, her legacy, and the family secret that was nearly lost forever in the New Mexican desert.


Copyright © 2008 by Lorraine M. López

Reading Group Guide copyright © 2008 by Hachette Book Group USA, Inc.

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

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First eBook Edition: October 2008

ISBN: 978-0-446-54310-1



The best thing about Randy Suela was his dog, Flip, a lanky Dalmatian mix, with pink-rimmed eyes and a long, rubbery tongue. Flip would jig on his hind legs, wriggling like a belly dancer, when he saw me and then roll on his back, so I could strum his liver-spotted belly. I'd invited both Randy and Flip to my tenth birthday party, but only Randy, wearing a crisp madras shirt, appeared on the threshold that morning. I barred the doorway, my hands on my hips. "Where's Flip?"

"My ma said I couldn't bring him." Randy lowered his head. His black hair was so stiff with Brylcreem that combing had etched hard furrows clear to his scalp. He scuffed one loafer into the other, and brought his hands from behind his back to offer a cylinder-shaped parcel wrapped in pink paper. "I got you something."

My eyes on the gift, I said, "You aren't invited without Flip."

Randy shook his head. "But, Loretta, my ma says dogs don't go to parties." He leaned to the left, trying to slip past me into the house.

"Yes, they do." I shifted, blocking him. "Mr. Huerta's bringing his Chihuahua to my party, and he's the landlord, so he should know."

"But my ma —"

"Tell your mama it's my party, not hers. I can invite whoever I want."

"Get the dog, boy," called Fermina from the bedroom. Her voice scraped through the bungalow like a bad saw on green wood.

"What was that?" Randy backpedaled, stumbling on the black BIENVENIDOS mat.

"Never mind," I said.

"That was spooky." He peered over my shoulder into the house.

"It's just Fermina, her voice. She's a really old Indian."

Randy's eyes widened. "You have an Indian? Can I see?"

"Not unless you bring Flip. That's the deal."

"Maybe I can sneak him over." He turned to leave.

I grabbed his elbow. "Give me that first." Something sloshed against glass under the pink paper. "What is it?"


My mouth went juicy. "Ooh!"

Randy smiled. "You like them, huh?"

"Dile gracias," called Fermina.

"Thanks," I said, ready to push the door shut. "Now, go get Flip."

When Randy returned with Flip, the dog lunged at me. His black claws raked my legs, scribbling chalky streaks on my thighs. I crouched, pulling him close, and he lapped my face with his fishy tongue. In the kitchen, I opened the box of dog biscuits I'd bought and tossed one for him before leading Randy to Fermina's room.

The door whined open, and the floorboards groaned under the carpet, as we tiptoed toward her bed. "¿Estás durmiendo?"

"No, venga." She propped herself up on the pillows. "Bring me my rosary, hija."

I opened the top bureau drawer. "Glow-in-the-dark or wood?"

"Wood. Glow-in-the-dark is for night."

I untangled the carved ebony beads from a nest of scapulars, thread, hairpins, and the greenish glow-in-the-dark strand.

"Dame agua, hija, with ice."

Randy stood frozen at the heart of the oval hook rug, staring. His jaw hung so low that silvery fillings glinted from the back of his mouth. I swung my gaze toward Fermina and imagined seeing her, as he was, for the first time.

To him, she must have made the gargoyles in fairy tales seem smooth as babies. Her skin was the color of cocoa, but the texture of oatmeal, puckered and bubbled with clots and lumps. Her pleated eyelids had avalanched over her eyes, leaving dark wet quarter-moons from which she peered at us. The few snowy hairs remaining on her head were tucked under a hairnet, which made her look both wise and weird.

I was used to Fermina, how she looked and the creaky way she spoke. I enjoyed curling up with her in bed and reading Stories for Young Catholics to her. But when I spied Randy wrinkling his nose, I, too, whiffed the sour mustiness of her sheets, the dry old woman smell that overpowered the joss sticks burning in her shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe. The tang of spoiled fruit wafted from Fermina's mouth, like a cantaloupe husk at the bottom of the trash can. The same sweetish stench had risen from my mother's blackened toes.

I handed Fermina the glass, and she sat up to sip the water. Had she always made these strangled, gurgling sounds? I turned to Randy. "Okay, let's go outside."

He didn't move.

"Come on, Randy."

"Can I . . . touch her?" he whispered.

Fermina set the glass on her maple trunk. "No."

"How old are you?" Randy asked.

"Ten years old," she told him with a wink.

I leveled my gaze at her. "Tell the truth."

"Today is my birthday," she said.

"It is not. It's mine!"

"Entonces ven aca a recibir un besito."

I leaned in and her lips rasped my cheek.

"Happy birthday, hija," she said. "When I am gone, you will get a gift from me." On our birthdays, Fermina always promised my three sisters and me that we'd receive our present from her after she died.

"You know what I want," I said.

She nodded. "The glow-in-the-dark rosary."

"No, not that." Though I loved how the milky pellets absorbed light to gleam at night like the moon's own lonely tears, what I really wanted was for Fermina to find my mother in that underworld and tell her that she never said good-bye to me. The morning they took Mama back to the hospital, I woke up late and threw on my uniform. My father yelled at me to hurry, and I had no time to slip into my mother's bedroom and hug her before we piled into the car for school. She never kissed me, never said good-bye. I asked Fermina to find her in that place she calls Maski and tell her she has to come back, that she forgot something —something important. "I already told you what I want. Remember?"

Fermina nodded. She kissed the crucifix at the top of the rosary and mumbled her prayers. I tugged Randy's arm and led him outside, where my oldest sister, Bette, stood with a cluster of her girlfriends. They'd just arrived, handing her cards and presents because Bette had lied to them, claiming it was her birthday.

For human guests, I'd invited Randy, only because of Flip, and two girls from school: Gloria Quon, who'd be late because of her violin lesson, and Nancy Acosta, a Jehovah's Witness, who would not come at all because celebrating birthdays was against her religion. Mr. Huerta promised to bring his Chihuahua, Baby, and our neighbor Mrs. Lucas said she'd let me borrow her golden retriever for the party.

The day before, my father had bought a bakery cake, a burro-shaped piñata, bags of Tootsie Rolls and butterscotch disks with which to fill the donkey, two packets of balloons, and party favors from Woolworth. When Randy and I slammed out the screen door, we found him tossing a clothesline to string the piñata on the avocado tree.

This was the first birthday party since my mother died in February, and my father was trying to do it right, though he'd never before given a party by himself. My mother had been the one to write out the invitations, bake and ice the cake, weave pastel-colored crepe paper into the trellis over the driveway, and blow up the balloons. It felt strange to see my father boiling wienies on the stove so early that morning that now they bobbed in the cold salty water like bloated fingers, odd to watch his hairy-knuckled hands measuring jelly beans into pleated candy cups. When he'd catch my eye, he'd wink, saying, "Real nice, ¿qué no?" He didn't even seem to mind that Bette had invited her friends, pretending it was her birthday. He was probably relieved to have more people for guests, as I had wanted to invite only dogs.

"Dogs?" he'd said when we first discussed it. "Like from the pound?"

"Not strange dogs —dogs I know, dogs from the neighborhood."

"You won't get presents that way," Bette had warned me, shaking her head. "Invite all the dogs on earth. Not a single one will bring a gift."

I couldn't care less for gifts, though the pickles were nice.

I shoved Randy toward my father. "Help him put up the piñata."

"Catch the other end of that rope, boy," my father said as I skipped toward the house, my shiny new Mary Janes stiff and slippery on the pavement. Flip panted behind the screen door. I pulled it open, and he shot out almost tumbling me. I caught his head in my hands and kissed his cold, salty nose. Then we bolted, racing around and around —the house, the carport, the patio. I shrieked, and Flip barked, stinging my shins with his thick, ropy tail when he overtook me near the trash cans, and then I charged after him. My seven-year-old brother joined in, but Cary, a husky asthmatic, soon grew pink in the face, huffing and wheezing until he had to stop.

My father called me to eat, and I begged a few more minutes, please. He hollered, "Get over here, girl!" And Fermina called from the side window, "Stop running with that dog. You will make him sick." I spun around to see Flip sink onto one haunch, panting. I tied his leash to a post near the trellis and refilled the water bowl for him to slurp while cooling his belly on the shaded concrete.

While Flip and I were racing, Gloria Quon had arrived. She, Bette, and Bette's friends had finished eating and were whispering together near the cuartito that housed the washing machine, not far from where my father had set up the picnic table for the party. At the patio, Cary helped himself to a second hot dog and more potato chips while Sophie kept him company. I had no idea where my younger sister Rita was.

There were five of us children, but once there had been six. With one exception, my mother named all of us for her favorite movie stars. First she named my oldest sister and me, Bette Davis and Loretta Young Gabaldón. Then she named the brother that followed me the English version of her father's name, Antonio Gerardo, to honor him, as he had died just before the baby's birth. But she switched back to movie star names when she lost Anthony Gerard, naming my brother and the two sisters that followed him, Cary Grant, Rita Hayworth, and Sophia Loren Gabaldón.

My mother used to say she "lost" Anthony Gerard —never how or why —when telling how many children she had and their ages. When she said it, her lips barely moved. Her voice seemed to come from another place, like she was hypnotized or as if she were a ventriloquist without a dummy.

My sister Bette and I wondered about this. Babies are not that small, we reasoned, but even if you did misplace one, soon enough it would start bawling, and then you'd find it straightaway. How could you lose a baby? How could our mother have lost a boy? When we asked Fermina, she said our mother should tell us what happened to Anthony Gerard. "It is her story," she said. "When it is time, she will tell you." Then she told us that she, too, had lost her brother when he was a baby.

"Really?" Bette's eyes grew round. "Where did he go?"

"Los riscos."

"The cliffs?"

She nodded. "He flew from them like a bird. Espérense. Your mother will tell you about your brother. Wait and you will know." Fermina would say nothing more about her lost brother or ours.

But Bette and I didn't like to wait, so we tried on our own to solve the puzzle of our brother's disappearance. We shut ourselves in our parents' closet, and Bette pulled a sheath of dry cleaner's plastic from my father's gray pin-striped suit. Maybe Anthony Gerard had gotten tangled in something like this, the plastic molding over his melon-sized head like a membrane, sucking into his nostrils and mouth as he gasped for air. Bette supposed he might have gotten lost this way.

"I'm going to visit Anthony Gerard," she said as we huddled in the leather-musky shadows between shoe trees. She pulled the plastic over her black curls and her face. "You coming?" She gathered the loose ends, knotting them under her chin.

I shook my head. "Nah, you go first."

The plastic puckered and dimpled before clouding with her breath. After a few minutes, she swayed and then slumped into my lap. I wanted to shout for help, but it was as though the plastic shrouded my head, stuffing my mouth and jamming my throat. I stripped away the clammy sheathing and slapped her face. She cried out, raised her hand to strike me, but I caught her wrist.

She said, "I saw him! I saw him!"

"Who?" I'd forgotten the purpose of our experiment.

"Anthony, Anthony Gerard! I saw him. He was wearing a sailor suit."

"Sailor suit?" I imagined the strutting Cracker Jack boy. "Where was he?"

"Long Beach." Bette nodded. "Pacific Ocean Park. I saw him holding an orange balloon on a string."

"P.O.P.? Nah-uh." I flashed on the chaos of hawkers in peppermint-striped jackets and straw boaters barking attractions, the tattooed and unshaven operators mutely churning rides —the Ferris wheel, the roller coasters, the small boats circling a moat of brackish water, and the bumper cars that sizzled overhead, showering sparks when they collided. I envisioned Anthony Gerard cracking open salted peanuts from a red-and-white sack and lining up to ride the roller coaster. The unfairness of it soured my stomach. "How come he gets to go there?"

"Stupid, that's where he was lost. I saw the Ferris wheel, the big one, near the water. That's where Mama lost him."

Being lost at P.O.P. hardly seemed a bad deal to me. "Is he still there?"

She shrugged. "That's where I saw him."

"What if he wandered out to the beach? What if he went too far out?" Even wading seemed treacherous. I would squeeze my aunt Nilda's freckled hand as I stood quaking, ankle-deep in foam, the wet sand worming between my toes after each slapping wave. If a slimy lock of seaweed brushed my ankle, I'd shimmy up my aunt's hip like a monkey. "Maybe he drowned!"

"Or maybe he flew off the Ferris wheel." Bette hooked her thumbs together, waving her fingers like wings.

I thought of my lost brother now, imagining him here at my party, strutting among the guests in his sailor suit, as I crammed the last wedge of bun into my mouth and watched Bette and her friends hoist Gloria Quon atop an upturned trash can. They strung a shiny gold ribbon from one of the gifts diagonally across Gloria's chest, crowned her with a tiara fashioned from tin foil, and sang, "There, she is, Miss A-mer-i-ca . . ."

Gloria was the type of child that adults make excuses to pet and fondle. She was chosen to play Snow White and Sleeping Beauty in fairy-tale plays, and she was the Virgin Mary for the Christmas pageant. Stage lights cast a bluish halo over her shingle-cut hair, bejeweling her dark eyes and glistening on her plump coral lips. When I met her, I was so moved by the creamy stalk of her neck that I wrapped my hands around it, sinking fingers into the warm skin. She'd cried for me to stop, and I pulled away, my face hot with shame. My cheeks still flamed with that memory.

My sister shot sidelong glances at me, and Randy Suela filled Gloria's lap with poinsettia blooms, their scarlet veins milk spotting his brown hands. Bette said, "Look, Loretta, look. We're making Gloria the queen!"

"Okay." I dropped my paper plate in a grocery sack my father had designated for trash. "I'll be right back."

Randy's tennis shoes scraped the cement as he rushed to catch up with me. The sound roused Flip, who whimpered, clawing the cement, straining at the end of his tether. Randy caught up with me when I leaned to scratch Flip's spotted ears. "Poor pup, you have to wait here."

"Can I go with you?" Randy said.

"I guess." I massaged Flip's ears until he sank to his belly, eyelids drooping. I gave him a final pat, and Randy and I trotted down the driveway.

"Where we going?" he asked.

"I got to get Sugar Foot for the party."

"Is that like a dessert or something?"

"No, he's a golden retriever with one white paw."

"Another dog? You sure like dogs, don't you?"

"I love dogs. And cats. And mice. And even bugs, but not worms."

"Do you like any people? Do you like any kids, say, in our class?"

I paused, thinking this over. "I like Gloria. She's pretty and she plays the violin."

"Do you like any of us guys? I mean, would you like someone like me, if that someone liked you?"

"Not if he didn't have a dog."

"I have a dog. So, do you like me?" He went silent, waiting for my answer.

I hesitated at the Lucases' ivy-covered gate. While I didn't mind Mrs. Lucas, whose thinning red hair flipped up, making her look like she could be Bozo the Clown's sister, I couldn't stand Ginger and Vicki, her teenaged daughters. Standing before their gate, I remembered the pigeon chick in the bushes near our house. Mama wouldn't let me bring the bird indoors, so I kept it in a towel-lined shoebox in the cuartito. I fed it rice cereal with an eyedropper. After several days, the tiny bird's stiff down grew plush, its breast round and sleek. The chick would trail after me in the cuartito when I came to feed him, and nest in my lap after eating, cooing with contentment.

"Don't show the Lucas girls that bird," my mother had warned me once as the sisters strolled past our house. "They'll take it away from you."

But I was so proud of the pigeon that I couldn't resist calling out to them the next time they appeared. "Hey, want to see something?"

I don't know how my mother knew it, but those lipstick smeared girls, with their tight skirts and fat, smudgy knees, took the chick away with them. First they jabbered —one and then the other —their flat voices drumming like raindrops on a tin roof.

"What do you need a pigeon for, huh?"

"We can take better care of it. We're older."

"We even got a birdcage with a swing."

"That pigeon's going to die here."

"What are you going to do when it gets sick?"

"We got a friend who's a bird doctor. Take care of it for free."

Then they hefted the box between them, taking the eyedropper, the cereal, and the little bird away from me.

I didn't see them until weeks later, one Sunday after mass.

"How's the pigeon?" I asked Ginger.


"How's that bird you got from me?"

She turned to Vicki. "You tell her."

"No-o-o-o, not me. You tell her."

"We had it in the yard next door," began Ginger, "and the neighbor was raking."

"Not raking," Vicki corrected her sister.

"That's right, not raking."


"Okay, mowing," Ginger said.

My fingernails bit small white moons into my palms. "What happened?"

"Well, that's what we're trying to tell you," Vicki said.

"Blood everywhere." Ginger shook her head. "A real mess."

"Did you take him to the doctor?"

"What doctor?" Vicki asked.

"The head had already come off," explained Ginger.

"That's right," Vicki said. "The head was off."

"You can't put that back on. Not even with stitches."

"Why did you even let him out of the cage?"

"What cage?" Vicki had asked.

Now, if I saw either of the Lucas girls in the yard or even glimpsed one through the window, then I'd spin around, head for home, and forget all about bringing Sugar Foot to my party. But I wasn't likely to see them, as they'd taken to smoking cigarettes and riding around in cars driven by older boys with slicked-back hair.

"Well?" asked Randy as we stood before the Lucas gate.

"Well, what?"

"I have a dog. Does that mean you like me?"

"I guess so. Flip's a great dog."

"Would you want to go with me?"

"Go where?"

"Not go anywhere. I mean, like, be my girlfriend."

My stomach lurched. "No!"

"I thought you liked me."

"I like Flip," I said.

"Would you go with me if I gave you Flip?"

"You'd completely give him to me? He'd live at my house?"

"If I did," Randy repeated, nodding.

"Maybe I would." I tugged open the gate. Sugar Foot lifted himself out of his basket bed on the porch, shook all over, and loped toward us. Mrs. Lucas appeared at the screen door, bearing a jump rope. "Keep him tied up, Loretta, or he'll run off. There's a dog in heat on the corner, and you can barely control old Sugar, even with a rope."

I threaded the rope through his collar, and Randy and I started back for the party. As we walked in silence, I gave Sugar Foot plenty of lead to visit trees, but held firm.

Finally Randy said, "Look, Loretta, I can't do it. I've had Flip since he was a pup. I just can't give him away like that."

"I know." I liked Randy more than ever right then. "Let's race to the house, okay? On your mark, get set, go!" We bounded back to the party. Sugar Foot, though an old dog with a limp, won by the taut length of his rope.

My father had us gather up wilted balloon skins, crepe streamers, paper cups, plates, and tattered bits of piñata after the party ended. As we finished, I asked him if we could visit my mother before supper. He blew at the thin flap of hair that kept spilling over his forehead like a loose chapel veil. "¡Cómo molestas!"

"I want to see her. That was my only wish when I blew out all the candles."

"Never enough," he said. "The party, the balloons, the cake, and those dogs fighting —it's never enough for you, is it?" He gestured toward the patio with his bandaged hand, the one Sugar Foot had bitten, loose gauze trailing like kite string from his wrist.

I cast my eyes on my shoes. They were water-splotched now, and they pinched my swollen feet. Sugar Foot hadn't gotten along with Flip. My father and Mr. Huerta tried yanking them apart, but the dogs ignored them. Sugar Foot snarled, thrusting with such force that the rope burned my hands. Dad hollered for Cary to get the hose. When it was over, Mr. Huerta, his guayabera shirt sopping, shook a finger at me. "No more dog parties on this property, and I mean it!"

The disaster of the party opened a place in me so deep and dark and lonely that not even the coffee table piled with gifts —most of them for Bette —could fill it. "I never had a birthday without Mama."

"¡Cállate la boca!"

"Juan Carlos!" Fermina called from the porch. Her friend Irina was visiting. They swayed together on the glider, talking quietly. "Ven aca."

My father threw down the rope he'd pulled from the avocado tree. "Cómo molestan" —these were his favorite words; everyone bothered him.

But I bothered him the most. To tell the truth, I did it on purpose. The others acted like he was some friendly giant in a fairy tale. Bette and Rita would run to tackle his legs when he returned from work, as he was swinging his lunch box and humming, "I've Been Working on the Railroad," though he really worked for the city, fixing water mains and opening hydrants when there were fires. He'd toss my shrieking sisters into the air, one at a time. Then he'd slam in the screen door and tickle the baby and give Cary a few friendly punches in the arm or muss his hair. All the while, I'd hide in my room or up in the avocado tree, staring down at the naked spot on his scalp and wondering why it had to be Mama. Why not him? "Where's la Loretta?" he'd ask. Bette would guess where I might be, and I'd hear him let out a sigh that whistled with relief.

Fermina's voice creaked like a rusted hinge as she spoke to my father, and Bette squinted at me, as though trying to figure out just how I'd become such an ass.

"We haven't visited Mama in a real long time," I said.

"Why don't you go to hell?" Rita balled her fists and scowled at me.

"Why should I?" I put my hands on my hips and swung my head from side to side as I'd seen the Lucas girls do when they argued. "To visit you?"

"Shithead," Rita said.

"Shut up, both of you," Bette hissed. "I can't hear what Fermina's saying."

"I miss Mama. I just want to visit her. What's so bad about that?"

"Dummy, you can't visit her. She's dead," said Bette. "All you can do is see the grave —dirt and grass. Her spirit's floated up to heaven. She's not even there." Bette often acted like she knew what she had no way of knowing, and, mostly, we ignored her, but this time she angered Cary.

"Liar! She is so there. I want to see her, too." Cary stepped beside me, twining his hot, chubby arm with mine. Sometimes I liked my brother almost as much as a dog.

My father fished in his pocket for the keys, yelling at us to get in the car, goddamn it. Bette hefted Sophie on one hip and lugged her to the car. Rita, tagging after them, turned to thrust her tongue out at me.

At the cemetery, we met the man who'd sold my mother's burial plot to my father. He claimed to be from the same part of New Mexico that my father came from, but he kept calling my father "paisano," and everyone knows that —where my dad's from —a paisano is a roadrunner. Even we, English-speaking children, called roadrunners paisanos. Until we saw the beeping bird in cartoons, we didn't have another word for them. To call our father paisano seemed silly, even insulting to him. Someone from his hometown should know better than this.

"Hey, paisano," the cemetery man said that afternoon as he strolled with us to my mother's grave.

"Why do you insist on calling me a 'roadrunner'?" my father asked.

"Ha-ha. You're a funny guy, paisano. But serious, that plot near your lady is still available, but not for long. You don't want no stranger sleeping near your wife."

My father stopped to light an unfiltered Camel. His sports shirt billowed as he sucked in a lungful of smoke. "I ain't planning to die."

"Serious, paisano, we all die. A small down payment will hold that piece of real estate for you until the time comes."

"Let me tell you something, paisano." My father flicked the ashes from his cigarette. "One, I am not a roadrunner, and two, I don't care who sleeps near my wife. She's dead. You got that?" He pivoted away, picking up the pace, and we trailed after him, trudging over the uneven tufts of grass as we searched for our mother's headstone.

When Cary and my sisters settled on their knees at the foot of the grave and my father stepped away to light another cigarette, I raced back the way we came. I found the cemetery man where we'd left him, kicking twigs from the walk.

"Hey, paisanita, you lost?"

I gasped, trying to catch my breath. "Look! I got five dollars." I reached into one of my shoes, where I'd stuffed my aunt Nilda's gift. "Here. Save that space near my mama." I pressed the folded bill into his hand.

He tucked it into his pocket. "What a good girl to save the plot for your papa."

I spun around to race back to my mother's grave. "Not for him!" I shouted over my shoulder. "For me-e-e-e!"


On Sale
Oct 1, 2008
Page Count
336 pages

Lorraine López

About the Author

Lorraine López is a Professor of English in the Creative Writing Program at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She won the 2003 Independent Publishers Book Award for Multicultural Fiction, awarded by the Jenkins Group, for Soy la Avon Lady and other Stories. The same work also won the 2003 Latino Book Award for Short Stories, awarded by the Latino Literary Hall of Fame. In 2001, López was awarded the Inaugural Miguel Marmol Prize for Fiction, selected by Sandra Cisneros and awarded by Curbstone Press, for a first book-length work of fiction of a Latino writer.

Learn more about this author