UTSA professor’s book highlights Texas’ diverse communities

Garza, who was born in Galveston and grew up in Uvalde, said her family was lucky because their home was partially damaged. But he remembered looking at the live oak trees around the island and thinking that they looked strong, only to realize that all the leaves were dead and that the trees had drowned in the storm.

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It was an image he couldn’t get out of his head.

“I like to start with a place as a writer,” Garza said. “I just sit in places and settle on what we’re going to write and once I get to that place, I think of characters and then I think of events and conflicts and it starts from there. And I had Galveston in the brain, so it just came out.”

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What began as a short story — the subject of a story he wanted — grew during Garza’s time in graduate school. Even after some time, he had Galveston in mind and the project grew The Last KarankawasHis first book was published last August.

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Kimberly Garza's short story grew into The Last Karankawas, her first novel published last August.

Kimberly Garza’s short story grew into The Last Karankawas, her first novel published last August.

Courtesy of Kimberly Garza

The story follows Carly Castillo, from Galveston, where her grandmother says her family is descended from the Karankawas, natives of Texas. The family has no evidence of this connection other than the stories they share, but Carly imagines a life away from the island “not known by the history of her family.”

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