Shades: Detroit Love Stories

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Esperanza Cintr?n's Shades: Detroit Love Stories is a short story collection that is distinctly Detroit. By touching on a number of romantic and sexual encounters that span the historical and temporal spaces of the city, each of these interconnected stories examines the obstacles an individual faces and the choices he or she makes in order to cope and, hopefully, survive in the changing urban landscape.

Shades begins in the 1960s by following two young black women who are determined to find joy in their lives even as they struggle to make ends meet. Their lives continue to evolve under triumphant and disappointing conditions-falling in and out of love, giving birth, raising children, and struggling to "make it" despite disappointing and tenuous love affairs and relationships. The setting throughout the eighteen stories shifts as these women age and their children extend the timeline, reflecting on the city's social and political changes over three decades, as well as the pitfalls, tragedies, and opportunities these linked families encounter. Cintr?n favors an everyday vernacular for her characters' voices in order to reflect the complexities of their working/middle-class, ethnic, and racial identities. Divided into two sections, Eastside and Westside, the collection gives a nod to the sometimes contentious geographical split marked by Woodward Avenue. Cintr?n takes readers through city streets-from neighborhood bars to burger joints-while painting lyrical portraits of the unique and multifaceted characters whose honesty shatters the illusion of endless love and happily-ever-after fantasies, as they clash with the circumstances of economics and race.

Cintr?n's stories capture the rhythms of language and the poetry of the people and will interest readers of fiction or poetry who seek to understand love.

Product Details

Wayne State University Press
Publish Date
August 05, 2019
5.4 X 0.5 X 8.4 inches | 0.55 pounds
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About the Author

Esperanza Cintr?n is the author of three books of poetry that include Chocolate City Latina, the 2013 Naomi Long Madgett Award winner What Keeps Me Sane, and Visions of a Post-Apocalyptic Sunrise. She is a native Detroiter of Puerto Rican descent who holds a doctorate in English literature and teaches at a local college.


We are invited into a world in which characters and their tales, over extended spans of time, connect and interweave with the intricate delicacy of a sunlit spider's web. I wish I had written them.-- (04/08/2019)
Esperanza Cintron really drew me close to her characters. I was enthralled by them, moved by their tragedies, and I enjoyed their lust for life. I caught myself asking why they get into these predicaments but then it is all there, it made sense. Before I knew it, I had reached the end of the book. What a read.-- (04/08/2019)
In this vibrant collection of interconnected stories, Cintr?n captures the struggles, joys, funk, suffering, and transcendence of a hard-living and hard-loving community and its people. So many characters left the page and lingered in my consciousness; so many shades of wonderful.-- (04/08/2019)
A richly textured tapestry of the lived experiences of ordinary working-class Detroiters, men and women, the young and the young-at-heart, that brings to light the daily struggles of the disenfranchised and marginalized who strive to eke out a living; put a roof over their heads; care for their loved ones; fend off racism, crime, and urban blight; and keep hope alive through spiritual salvation, education, and love in one of America's postindustrial cities.--Jorge L. Chinea"professor of history and director of the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies" (04/08/2019)