Kissing the Virgin's Mouth
By Donna M. Gershten
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780060933586, 240pp.)
Publication Date: February 2002
List Price: $12.99*
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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.
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.
“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