Winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize "[A] sparkling debut collection…features dreamers and schemers whose lives pulsate with wild hopes, hard luck, stunning secrets, and saving grace." Elle
With intensity and emotional precision, Kirstin Valdez Quade's unforgettable stories plunge us into the fierce, troubled hearts of characters defined by the desire to escape the past or else to plumb its depths. The deadbeat father of a pregnant teenager tries to transform his life by playing the role of Jesus in a bloody penitential Passion. A young man discovers that his estranged father and a boa constrictor have been squatting in his grandmother’s empty house. A lonely retiree new to Santa Fe becomes obsessed with her housekeeper. One girl attempts to uncover the mystery of her cousin's violent past, while another young woman finds herself at an impasse when she is asked to hear her priest's confession.
Always hopeful, these stories chart the passions and obligations of family life, exploring themes of race, class, and coming-of-age, as Quade's characters protect, betray, wound, undermine, bolster, define, and, ultimately, save each other.
Kirstin Valdez Quade has received a "5 Under 35" award from the National Book Foundation as well as the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award and the 2013 Narrative Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Narrative, The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and elsewhere. She was a Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford University and is currently the Nicholas Delbanco Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan.
Night at the Fiestas: Stories 3.5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
What did I not get??
I read this book after having read an article about the author in America, the Jesuit biweekly magazine. I can appreciate the well-structured sentences and the detailed character development. Beyond that, if there 50 (?) characters in the ten stories, there only about five I’d want to meet for a cup of coffee. The rest: depressed; repressed; guilt-filled; beaten; broken; enabling; enabled; vengeful; lonely; psychotic; manipulative. Are there any happy people in New Mexico? Hope I soon forget (Spoiler Alert) the image of the 20+ rats attacking the boa constrictor.
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