Giving it Raw: Nearly 30 Years with AIDS, 2001
Thirty years ago, Francisco Ibáñez-Carrasco of Santiago, Chile moved to Vancouver and discovered he was HIV+. Doctors said he’d be lucky to live two years. With death in his eyes he began to ask questions about life, death, sex, survival, and hope. So alright, overwhelming odds, resilience, more sentimental bullshit. What sets this work apart is unflagging humour, laughter that goes straight down to the bone, and a relentless, defiant, nearly senseless joy in the madness of it all. Here is a man who stares down ghosts with the gritty, dark humor of a snap queen. Acerbic, foul-mouthed, compassionate and cruel, Giving it Raw is a testament to the power of writing to cleanse away shame in the burning light of universal darkness. Death, loneliness, BDSM, fetishes, rough trade… here’s another hard shot of reality with no chaser from Canada’s only true literary badboy.
Killing Me Softly, 2004
Twelve dark, intense short stories of love gone wrong. Genre-blurring and gender-bending, this is not the sanitized, euphemistic gay identity of pride parades and primetime television shows. In his second book, Francisco Ibáñez-Carrasco gives us a dose of reality. Here is the Canada that lies in the shadow of the maple leaf.
“His is a four-thirty-in-the morning, done-one-too-many-lines-of-crystal lens. The heroes in his stories can be HIV-positive, not white, and sometimes self-loathing. If you scraped the rainbow paint off your pride rings with a dirty thumbnail, you would find Francisco’s world, skillfully rendered and beautifully imperfect.”
– Ivan E. Coyote.
Flesh Wounds and Purple Flowers, 2001
This extravagant debut novel takes us into the world of Latino machos and cha-cha divas of Santiago’s gay underground, full of dreamers and schemers looking for salvation abroad. One of them is Camilo, a strong-willed queen who makes it out of Chile in the early eighties, but en route to New York lands in Vancouver, where he decides to stay. All the while he maintains contact with a starry network of machos and maricones in Chile, Cuba, and America: an exiled gringa with a mysterious past; a straight lover left behind in crumbling Havana; a transsexual confidante in Santiago. Told in the musical lilt of Spanglish, Camilo tells his story as he lays dying in his hospital bed, recalling a life of sequins, disco, and a plague that is at the same time debilitating and liberating.