Every story in The Gilda Stories is just so brilliantly set in its point of time. Gilda, Gomez’s vampire who has now been so for just over a hundred years, continues to grow and change, but also to remain so connected in some really key ways. I love that at this point she’s got a beauty salon—especially working with the hair of other black women—and is still connected with sex workers, and how those touch-points are such a key, grounding piece of her.
This story also brings back Bird, who we haven’t seen in a long time, and then doubles down by introducing another vampire of a violent and controlling nature who knows of Gilda and who wants someone she is protecting and thinks nothing of killing her to get what he wants.
In many ways, “South End: 1955” reads like a thriller. Finding the one being targeted, followed by a flight scene, planning for an impending battle, the shoring of the defences… and the final battle. That’s another thing I love about The Gilda Stories: they’re as varied as their time periods, while still maintaining that core thematic (and character) thread. Gilda has fast become my favourite vampire character, I believe.