To cross a border is to both affirm the border’s existence and expose its futility. Gutiérrez’s stunning collection of essays about a queer existence in the Southwest is a meditation in this kind of border-crossing, jumping from the ’90s DIY-punk scene in Los Angeles to the guttingly tragic question of citizenship in the modern–day xenophobic landscape. Whether writing from the microscopic (an essay on the creation of adobe architecture) or the macroscopic (a shift in urban life and aesthetics based on immigration policies), Gutiérrez possesses the unique ability to call into question both our comforts and our fears. This book deliciously captures the modern and nostalgic experience of Southern California living.
A meditation on southwestern terrains, intergenerational queer dynamics, and surveilled brown artists that crosses physical and conceptual borders. Part butch memoir, part ekphrastic travel diary, part queer family tree, Raquel Guti rrez's debut essay collection, Brown Neon, gleans insight from the sediment of land and relationships. For Guti rrez, terrain is essential to understanding that no story, no matter how personal, is separate from the space where it unfolds. Whether contemplating the value of adobe as both vernacular architecture and commodified art object, highlighting the feminist wounding and transphobic apparitions haunting the multigenerational lesbian social fabric, or recalling a failed romance, Guti rrez traverses complex questions of gender, class, identity, and citizenship with curiosity and nuance.