Gabino Iglesias, a Writer of Noir, Explores the Texas Underworld | Big Indy News
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Gabino Iglesias, a Writer of Noir, Explores the Texas Underworld

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AUSTIN, Tex. — At the dawn of the pandemic, Gabino Iglesias had already been living paycheck to paycheck in Texas for more than a decade. Then the public high school where he was teaching had devastating news: He was being let go.

Iglesias, a Puerto Rican novelist, found himself without a salary or health insurance. Unable to find other work in the bleak 2020 job market, he gambled on finishing the book he had started writing on his lunch breaks.

As Covid-19 raged outside, he wrote at a feverish pace for months on “The Devil Takes You Home,” his haunting noir thriller, which Mulholland Books will publish on Tuesday. Echoing the Book of Job, it follows a father in Austin who loses his job and health insurance, his young daughter to terrible disease and, finally, his marriage.

At wit’s end, the narrator, Mario, takes up an offer from a meth-addicted friend and embarks on a new line of work as a cartel hit man. This shift spawns a borderlands odyssey that blends noir and magical realism, meditations on religiosity and human cruelty, and social commentary on guns, the drug trade and resurgent racism.

“I put all my anger with the health care system into this book,” said Iglesias, 40, the author of “Zero Saints” and “Coyote Songs,” two novels which were critically acclaimed and enthusiastically received, albeit by relatively small numbers of readers.

In contrast, the arrival of Iglesias’s new book, with praise pouring in from noir masters, a book tour in the works and film rights already optioned, is shaping into a breakthrough moment for a writer who has long toiled just to make ends meet.

As American health care continues to confound and inflame, Iglesias is tapping into a source of familiar anguish. The book holds parallels to “Breaking Bad,” the series about a cancer-stricken high school teacher who descends into the meth underworld to secure his family’s future.

But unlike “Breaking Bad,” which won broad acclaim but faced criticism over the unconvincing ways some Latino characters were depicted, “The Devil Takes You Home” revels in the American West’s ethnic and linguistic diversity.

Some characters speak only English, perplexed by the Spanglish prevailing along much of the border. Others prefer the Spanish of the streets of Ciudad Juárez; grief-afflicted Mario effortlessly switches between English, Spanglish, Puerto Rican Spanish and varieties of Mexican Spanish.

Though contextual hints of meaning are ample, most of the book’s non-English dialogue is untranslated and unvarnished, reflecting how millions of people actually talk in Texas, whether in downtown El Paso or the grittier parts of Austin.

“I made it clear we’re not doing italics,” Iglesias said during an interview conducted in Spanglish at a bustling cafe in Austin, emphasizing his sense of relief when his editor at Mulholland, an imprint of Little, Brown, sided with him.

Growing into a writer who navigates languages and cultures wasn’t always in the cards for Iglesias. He was raised speaking only Spanish in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean island which is a United States territory (like many Puerto Ricans, Iglesias often prefers the word “colony”).

As a young reader, he was drawn to authors like Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe, part of what he called a self-fed “very steady diet of horror.” He said he learned English partly by reading H.P. Lovecraft, dictionary in hand, looking up words he didn’t know.

In Puerto Rico, he was accepted into a marine biology program in college, then switched to get a business degree while working construction to pay the bills. Realizing the business world wasn’t for him, he then “wasted two years in law school,” began dabbling in journalism and got accepted into a postgraduate journalism program at the University of Texas in Austin.

Iglesias arrived in Texas with $236 to his name and got by without a car for two years. Scrambling to make ends meet on a stipend of about $930 a month, he taught radio reporting to college students, sold life insurance and taught English as a second language to Spanish-speaking immigrants.

That last experience, in addition to broadening his exposure to Spanish from Mexico and other countries in the Americas, reminded him of some advantages he held. Like his students, many of whom had crossed the border illegally from Mexico, he had followed his star to Texas.

But unlike them, Iglesias noted, he didn’t have to worry about immigration agents knocking on his door and deporting him at a time of resurgent xenophobia in the United States.

“Puerto Ricans may be second-class citizens but that American passport is extremely helpful,” he said. (Puerto Ricans have been United States citizens since 1917, but island residents cannot vote in presidential elections and lack voting representation in Congress.)

Still, Iglesias said he was frequently asked about his immigration status when looking for work, and as he sought out one low-paying office job after another, he was often greeted with indifference or skepticism from potential employers.

“My education and my CV don’t go hand in hand with what I look like,” he said. “When you’re a stocky brown guy with an accent, there’s not a lot of people clamoring to give you opportunities.”

Even after obtaining a Ph.D. in journalism, Iglesias said he still nurtured dreams outside of academia. More than once, as he pressed on with his own writing, he said colleagues suggested it would be a good marketing decision to change his name to “something with fewer vowels in it.”

Then there are the many sacrifices newly minted scholars make to secure tenured jobs. He saw contemporaries moving around the country from one college campus to another, churning out ultra-specialized work aimed at burnishing their professorial credentials.

“I didn’t want to spend my entire life writing articles for journals that no one’s going to read,” he said.

So he focused on his writing while also holding down various gigs, such as producing book reviews, grading papers and teaching online writing classes, to pay the bills.

It was enough, he said, to a keep a roof over his family, which includes his 9-year-old son, his wife and a rescue pit bull. They still live in low-income housing in Austin, even as Iglesias is finally finding broader recognition.

The results of his dedication to his craft are not for the faint of heart. He cited practitioners of Appalachian noir such as David Joy and S.A. Cosby as influences, and said the aim of his work was to “bring it down into the gutter.”

Some scenes in “The Devil Takes You Home” graphically explore how religious fervor can justify just about any course of action. In other stretches, he explores the blood-soaked hypocrisy of border security policies that allow guns trafficked from the United States to nurture Mexico’s drug trade.

Then there are the eerie scenes in the smuggling tunnels under the border, where the criaturas live, or the sense of surprise when in the presence of an exceptionally brutal drug lord who speaks with a theologian’s eloquence.

“Being in the presence of monsters is OK, as long as you don’t think too much about what they’re capable of,” Mario says. “The scarier thing is when you realize what you’re capable of yourself.”

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This Soft Turtleneck Sweater Dress Will Keep You Warm All Winter — Only $40!

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Us Weekly has affiliate partnerships so we may receive compensation for some links to products and services.

Sweater dresses are delightful in theory but difficult in execution. They’re usually either too long or too short, too thin or too thick, too tight or too loose. We can never seem to strike the perfect balance — so, then we end up wearing pants and tops all season instead. Boring! Time to switch up our winter wardrobe with a sweater dress that keeps Us warm without concealing our shape. We deserve to look hot and feel hot at the same time!

After many failed attempts in the past, we finally tracked down a sweater dress that delivers. This fashion-forward turtleneck frock toes the line between a mini and a midi — it’s the optimal length to rock with knee-high boots! You can style the sweater dress as is if you prefer a relaxed fit or add a belt if you want to accentuate your waist. Even the turtleneck itself is a happy medium, a drapey fold-over style that will shield you from the cold but won’t constrict you. Keep scrolling to shop this versatile sweater dress from Amazon!

Get the Miessial Women’s Oversized Loose Sweater Dress for just $40 at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, December 5, 2022, but are subject to change.

The Miessial Women’s Oversized Loose Sweater Dress is a closet staple for sweater weather! Now that it’s December, we’ll only don knit dresses. Shoppers say that this style is both warm and flattering — and the knit blend is so soft!

The intricate detailing makes this sweater dress seem like a piece you might find in a boutique — no one will believe you got this frock from Amazon! Available in six solid shades, this turtleneck really is an everyday essential. Take this dress from daytime to date night!

Get the Miessial Women’s Oversized Loose Sweater Dress for just $40 at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, December 5, 2022, but are subject to change.

We always rely on reviews before settling any shopping debates! And the overall consensus from customers is that this sweater dress slays.

  • “Great winter dress. Good sturdy material. Not too heavy or thin.”
  • “The fabric is SO soft. For the price, this is an amazing sweater dress! It’s very warm and flattering. Also, the turtleneck part is loose for those of you who get claustrophobic with tight things.”
  • “I would recommend this thick sweater dress. Its fabric is very soft and comfortable. And it’s a good thick material, but not heavy. Can make you feel warm in cold weather. This will be the perfect choice for winter wear. I love it so much.”

As Ramona Singer would say, “It’s turtle time!” Warm up your neck and spice up your style with the softest sweater dress from Amazon!

See it! Get the Miessial Women’s Oversized Loose Sweater Dress for just $40 at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, December 5, 2022, but are subject to change. 

Not your style? Shop more from Miessial here and explore more sweater dresses here! Don’t forget to check out all of Amazon’s Daily Deals for more great finds!

Looking for additional ways to elevate your closet? Check out more picks below:

This post is brought to you by Us Weekly’s Shop With Us team. The Shop With Us team aims to highlight products and services our readers might find interesting and useful, such as wedding-guest outfits, purses, plus-size swimsuits, women’s sneakers, bridal shapewear, and perfect gift ideas for everyone in your life. Product and service selection, however, is in no way intended to constitute an endorsement by either Us Weekly or of any celebrity mentioned in the post.

The Shop With Us team may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. In addition, Us Weekly receives compensation from the manufacturer of the products we write about when you click on a link and then purchase the product featured in an article. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product or service is featured or recommended. Shop With Us operates independently from the advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback at ShopWithUs@usmagazine.com. Happy shopping!

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Khloe Kardashian – who weighs only 123lbs – claims to pull ‘over 100lbs’ of weights

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‘An hour of torture’: Khloe Kardashian – who weighs 123lbs – claims to ‘pull over 100lbs’ of weights in a gym… as she appears thinner than ever

Khloe Kardashian took to Instagram on Monday morning to share videos of herself working out.

During one of the Insta Stories clips the 38-year-old beauty – who is 5ft10in – claimed that she was exerting herself more than usual as she pulled 100lbs worth of weights. The TV icon said the gym workout was ‘torture.’

The Keeping Up With The Kardashians vet was having difficulty with the workout as she weighs only about 123lbs, it has been claimed, after a recent weight loss.

Ouch: Khloe Kardashian took to Instagram on Monday morning to share videos of herself working out. During one of the Insta Stories clips the 38-year-old beauty – who is 5ft10in – claimed that she was exerting herself more than usual as she pulled 100lbs worth of weights

Thinner than ever: The Keeping Up With The Kardashians vet was having difficulty with the workout as he weighs only 123lbs, it has been claimed, after recent weight loss; seen last week

Thinner than ever: The Keeping Up With The Kardashians vet was having difficulty with the workout as he weighs only 123lbs, it has been claimed, after recent weight loss; seen last week

‘Bear crawls with pulling over 100 pounds,’ she wrote over a photo as she linked to Don-A-Matrix Training.

Over a video the TV siren wrote, ‘I do not care about my form here. I am dying. An hour of torture from this monster Don-A-Matrix.’

She is referring to Don-A-Matrix, a workout center on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

Khloe wore a light brown crop top and leggings with her honey blonde hair pulled up into a ponytail as she stopped to take selfies in the mirror.

The mother of two is seen in a gym as she works up a sweat.

Committed: Over a video the TV siren wrote, 'I do not care about my form here. I am dying. An hour of torture from this monster Don-A-Matrix'

Committed: Over a video the TV siren wrote, ‘I do not care about my form here. I am dying. An hour of torture from this monster Don-A-Matrix’

In one image she can be seen pulling a very heavy weight structure and in another Khloe is pulled on two straps connected to a weight bundle.

The Revenge Body star was also on the treadmill, she shared.

In February, Khloe confirmed she has lost weight. She did not say how much but it looked to be over 10lbs.

‘About 3 months apart,’ began the designer in her caption for her followers. ‘Let’s go @coachjoe.paris we are sculpting my back and arms.’

Gym lover: Khloe wore a light brown crop top and leggings with her honey blonde hair pulled up into a ponytail as she stopped to take selfies in the mirror

Gym lover: Khloe wore a light brown crop top and leggings with her honey blonde hair pulled up into a ponytail as she stopped to take selfies in the mirror

Run it out: The Revenge Body star was also on the treadmill, she shared

Run it out: The Revenge Body star was also on the treadmill, she shared

Her back looked very different as in the ‘after’ photo her muscles and bones can be seen thanks to her workouts and weight loss. 

The siren linked to her French-born personal trainer Joël Bouraïma who now lives in Los Angeles.

He has often appeared on KUWTK as he trains Khloe as well as Kourtney on the grounds of their mansions.

Speaking to USA Today, Khloe recently admitted that ‘it was hard’ to learn the news of Tristan’s latest infidelity while cameras were capturing her every move.

DailyMail.com exclusively revealed details of the paternity battle in December after Maralee Nichols filed a lawsuit against the NBA player.

In February, Khloe confirmed she has lost weight. She did not say how much but it looked to be over 10lbs (pictured in

Out of this world: In February, Khloe confirmed she has lost weight. She did not say how much but it looked to be over 10lbs (pictured in 2021) 

Koko before and after: Khloe seen left, in December 2021, and right, in February 2022. She has admitted to losing weight

Betrayal: Tristan was caught cheating on Khloe in 2018  just days before she welcomed their first child together, and a paternity test revealed that he had fathered a child last year

Betrayal: Tristan was caught cheating on Khloe in 2018  just days before she welcomed their first child together, and a paternity test revealed that he had fathered a child last year 

In 2018, just days before Khloé gave birth to her and Tristan’s daughter True, DailyMail.com published video and photos of Tristan kissing a strip club worker and also taking her up to his hotel room in New York City.

The couple managed to weather the storm, but they split in 2019 after Tristan kissed Kylie Jenner’s then-BFF Jordyn Woods.

The couple patched up their issues to reunite in the summer of 2020 while spending time together in the early days of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but they split again in June of last year.

Baby mama: DailyMail.com exclusively revealed details of the paternity battle in December after Maralee Nichols filed a lawsuit against the NBA player 

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Hawks Announcer Bob Rathbun Suffers Scary Medical Emergency On Air, Hospitalized

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