‘Gorilla, My Love’ by Toni Cade Bambara

Bambara, Toni Cade 1971

Gorilla, My Love by Toni Cade Bambara, 1971

The magic trick:

Tying together a seemingly stream-of-consciousness narrative with a concept at the end

“Gorilla, My Love” rushes out of the narrative gates and never lets up. Our narrator is rattling off anecdote after anecdote in a seemingly stream-of-consciousness fashion. It’s a rush of language and often very funny. What’s remarkable though is that by story’s end, it’s clear it wasn’t so random a stream. It all ties together under the themes of honesty and deception and adult control. This wasn’t a rollicking ride but a high-concept piece. And that’s quite a trick on Bambara’s part.

The selection:

So the movie come on and right away it’s this churchy music and clearly not about no gorilla. Bout Jesus. And I am ready to kill, not cause I got anything gainst Jesus. Just that when you fixed to watch a gorilla picture you don’t wanna get messed around with Sunday School stuff. So I am mad. Besides, we see the raggedy old brown film King of Kings every year and enough’s enough. Grownups figure they can treat you just anyhow. Which burns me up.

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One Comment on “‘Gorilla, My Love’ by Toni Cade Bambara”

  1. J. says:

    A fascinating critique — and a good lesson for how to judge all fiction — and all from a fairly obscure story-choice. Part of the “magic trick” of this whole site is in alerting us to unsung writers worth our attention.


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