chapbook / 2011 / The Florida Review

Chosen by David Huddle for

the 2011 Jeanne Leiby Memorial Chapbook Award


I was the only white woman in Zone 18, and for the first time I could see what I looked like. Before, I'd been the kind of girl people want to draw eyebrows or paint lashes on; Aunt Nancy had tried, anyway. "Just a little something," she'd say, "to help you show up." But in Guate, I was what was hot. A walk to my bus stop or the corner tienda felt like strolling down the red carpet. ¡Rubia, rubia! Boys stopped playing street soccer; men put down their packs. Everyone swiveled his head ¡Gringuita mía, qué linda! My colorlessness was a new color.


Praise for Rubia

Rubia is so deftly and subtly written and so smart about so many topics—soccer, youth, language, race, culture, love, and the sexes—that to read it is to feel secretly wise about the world.”

--David Huddle, contest judge, author of Paper BoyGlory River, and Nothing Can Make Me Do This

 “Rubia is a launchpad for Patricia King’s vibrant and poetic voice. It wonderfully captures the beauty and turmoil of Central America, the pull of exoticism, and the tribal tug of one’s own culture.”

--Dominic Smith, author of The Electric Hotel and The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

“Vivid, beautiful, very smart. Rubia is both playful and heartbreaking.”

--Christine Sneed, author of The Virginity of Famous Men and Paris, He Said

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