The essays embody the complexities of identity: each one weaves multiple strands of narrative and arguments to touch on art, ethnic identity, sexuality, and class. Juxtapositions and abrupt shifts in focus bring variety into each piece, while also calling for attention to the interconnectedness of the self, land, and community ... Together, the essays paint a portrait of a twenty-first-century American Southwest that is a vibrant, beautiful, and fruitful place for queer Latinx artists, but also one that is fraught, dangerous, and changing at a rapid rate ... The essays are both probing and celebratory in tone. They focus more on exploring problems of identity, community, and citizenship than on offering answers, and frequent rhetorical questions open possibilities for further thought. They are also warm, moving paeans to friendship. The names of Gutiérrez’s friends and artistic collaborators appear on repeat throughout, illustrating the power of communal bonds ... A tribute to the power of art to provoke and challenge its viewers, the essays of Brown Neon are timely and affecting as they consider the nuances of queer Latinx life in the American Southwest.
While the text has a tendency to meander, readers who stick with it will fine a bold and brave debut collection from an intriguing new literary voice ... A probing, tender reckoning with space, place, and identity.
Gutierrez meditates on geography, gender, creativity, and love in her lyrical debut collection. She has a knack for writing about art ... Though Gutierrez occasionally veers into an academic tone, for the most part this is notable for the author’s sly, acerbic wit ... Written with energy, critical acumen, and raw emotion, this is as memorable as it is original.