Short Stories by Jose Iriarte

Title: Yuca and Dominoes

Published: November 2013 in Strange Horizons

Genre: fiction

Length: 15 pages

Interest: It was included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology

Setting: Miami’s Little Havana, recent past

Summary: Ana Teresa just wants to get out of the apartment building she lives in with her grandparents. She knows there’s more to life than dominoes and Cuban food. She manages to a scholarship to college and makes it out, although she’s drawn back in once her grandfather dies.

Final thoughts: I did not see any hint of science fiction or fantasy in this story. It was an interesting enough story about a girl living among Cuban ex-pats, hoping for more from life, and eventually realizing that life in that apartment building is pretty good.

Title comes from: Ana Teresa’s grandfather spent much of his time playing dominoes with others from the apartment building and her grandmother was famous for her yuca dishes. Both were the ties binding her to that building.

Title: Cabron

Published: November 2013 in TWO: The 2nd Annual Stupefying Stories Horror Special

Genre: horror (I’m assuming from the title of the anthology in which it was published)

Length: 20 pages

Interest: It was included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology

Setting: a Catholic girls’ school, recent past

Summary: The narrator has just started at a new school. She hasn’t made many friends and is creeped out by the guy who runs the infirmary who looks like a priest, but isn’t actually. He has an unnatural fascination with blood.

Final thoughts: I’m not a fan of horror this seemed to be playing on the Catholic schoolgirl/evil teacher trope. I just wasn’t into it at all so quit after a few pages. It did have more of the Cuban flavor I picked up strongly from the first story.

Title comes from: It’s what the narrator called the teacher at the end (I peeked and read the last two pages just to see how it turned out).

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