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Kissing the Virgin's Mouth (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

While looking at the roles women are expected to play in both Mexico and the United States, this novel is a moving story of one woman engaged in a very personal struggle. Growing up in extreme poverty in the Mexican cities of Teatl´n and Sinaloa, Magda uses her feminine wiles and her sharp mind to build a new life for herself. I loved the relationships between the women in this novel. They learn to stand up for themselves, and with help from a porcelain Baby Jesus who cries real tears and their own abilities, they realize their dreams. This book left me feeling like I'd gone to Mexico and visited with people who would become life long friends. --Gayle


Guadalupe Magdalena Molina Vásquez -- wife, scoundrel, courtesan, mother -- is full of contradictions: she believes in love but is suspicious of men; she rejects religion but admires the Virgin Mary; she respects tradition while breaking all the rules. Here, in the Golden Zone of Teatán, Mexico, Magda tells her extraordinary life story -- from a poor Mexican barrio to American affluence, from wide-eyed childhood to worldly courtesan life, from full-blooded youth to oncoming blindness -- and bewitchingly imparts the hard-earned wisdom she has gained through the years.

About the Author

Donna M. Gershten was born in eastern North Carolina and later lived for some years in Sinaloa, Mexico, where she ran a fitness and community center. She returned to the United States, received a master of fine arts in creative writing from Warren Wilson College, and began to publish short stories in literary journals. Gershten now divides her time between the Huerfano Valley in southern Colorado and Denver. Kissing the Virgin's Mouth is her first novel.

Gershten was the first recipient of the $25,000 Bellwether Prize for Fiction in recognition of her debut novel Kissing the Virgin's Mouth as "a literature of social change." The Bellwether Prize was established by award-winning author Barbara Kingsolver, to promote literature of "social responsibility" and "political boldness and complexity." Barbara Kingsolver announced Donna M. Gershten as the first recipient of the prize, by press release, in May 2000.

Praise for Kissing the Virgin's Mouth…

“Lively and pungent…[Gershten] makes Magdalena a rich and contradictory character—and, moreover, a canny storyteller in her own right.”
-Los Angeles Times

“Captivating…full of passion and courage…a work of insight and imagination, as well as narrative strength and seductive language.”
-Washington Post Book World

Product Details ISBN-10: 0060933585
ISBN-13: 9780060933586
Published: Harper Perennial, 02/01/2002
Pages: 240
Language: English

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