Manuel Muñoz

The Indigo Press is an independent publisher of contemporary fiction and non-fiction, based in London. Guided by a spirit of internationalism, feminism and social justice, we publish books to make readers see the world afresh, question their behaviour and beliefs, and imagine a better future.

Courtesy of Manuel Muñoz

Manuel Muñoz

Manuel Muñoz is the author of a novel, What You See in the Dark, and the short story collections Zigzagger and The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue, which was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. He is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. He has been recognized with a Whiting Writer’s Award, three O. Henry Awards, and an appearance in Best American Short Stories.

A native of Dinuba, California, he currently lives and works in Tucson, Arizona.

The Consequences

Shimmering writing depicting California’s Central Valley, the first book in a decade from a virtuoso story writer.

Two young women meet on a bus to Los Angeles to retrieve the men they love who must find their way back from the border after being deported; a gay couple plans a housewarming party that reveals buried class tensions; a teenage mother slips out to a carnival where she encounters the father of her child; the foreman of a crew of fruit pickers finds a dead body and is subsequently – perhaps literally – haunted.

These exquisite stories are mostly set in the 1980s in the small towns that surround Fresno. With an unflinching hand, Muñoz depicts the Mexican and Mexican American farmworkers who put food on our tables but were regularly and ruthlessly rounded up by the migra, as well as the everyday struggles and immense challenges faced by their families.

The messy and sometimes violent realities navigated by his characters – straight and gay, immigrant and American-born, young and old – are tempered by moments of surprising, tender care. In The Consequences, obligation can shape, support, and sometimes derail us. It’s a magnificent new book from a gifted writer at the height of his powers.

Writing the wrong

‘The Consequences is my first book in eleven years. The stories were difficult to write for a variety of reasons, but doubt played a big part. The editor of my novel, upon receiving the first draft, had responded with a brief, if curt, ‘This is too cerebral.’ Some version of that student’s dismissive scrawl was in that comment, but I was older and more experienced. I didn’t need to point to any dictionary. I could point to the authority of my imagination, or at least I felt I had earned the audacity to do so.

Still, the sense that I had not met some expectation – who I could be as a writer – kept me at a remove from so many of my drafts afterward. Surely, I was doing something wrong.

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