The Consequences: Stories


Manuel Muñoz

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Winner of the 2023 Joyce Carol Oates Prize

Finalist for the Aspen Words Literary Prize

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

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: 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.

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.


Manuel Muñoz’s stories are melancholy, assured, and unforgettable. Like a porch light at midnight, they strike a circle of stark dreamlike clarity around their characters, even as the darkness gathers in.’
— Colin Barrett, author of Homesickness

‘Muñoz brings tenderness and immediacy to these fully realised stories of secrets and concealment, longings, vulnerability, and imperfect escape, creating an expansive and memorable world.’

‘This is honest, unsentimental writing, light in touch and delicate in style, but nonetheless unsettling.’
Times Literary Supplement

These stories are evanescent, unforgettable, taking us deep into California’s Central Valley, the homeland Manuel Muñoz has for years given to the world as a place of glimmering mystery, tule fog, and the yearning of his characters for love and absolution. Each story reveals an entire life. Muñoz is one of the best writers working in America.’
— Susan Straight, author of In the Country of Women and Between Heaven and Here

Haunting, powerful, humble, precise, this collection shook my being. Manuel Muñoz is a great American writer who sees with his heart—as great as Juan Rulfo in writing about the poor. I wish I had written these stories.’
— Sandra Cisneros, author of Martita, I Remember You and The House on Mango Street

This packs a hell of a punch.’
Publishers Weekly 

Nuanced, thoughtful, often moving stories.’

‘The characters in this collection exist on the verge of oblivion, but the book out-Steinbecks Steinbeck in its manifestation of the human in places we too rarely dare look.
Oprah Daily

It’s such a beautiful book. The admiration I have for you is how you’re able to transcend your body as a male and as a Latino, and just be pure spirit, your pure spirit, and enter into all your characters. You’re so generous. That’s why I wished I had written those stories. So beautiful.’
— Sandra Cisneros for Orion Magazine

A common thread throughout the collection is the choice between kindness and cruelty, whether through violence or disregard. … This collection pushes the reader to appreciate life’s small moments of unexpected tenderness with fresh eyes.’
— Brenda Peynado, for The New York Times, and author of The Rock Eaters

‘I was struck immediately by the beauty, poise & effortless empathy of The Consequences. As one who much appreciates the art of the short story, I was filled with admiration for a writer who creates an entire world within the space of a few pages, with seeming effortlessness.’
— Joyce Carol Oates

Muñoz builds his stories with tenderness and immediacy, yet he is capable of filling them with concealments, desires, vulnerabilities and reconsiderations, revealing a vast and unforgettable world that takes place in a long strip of land where thousands of lives are intertwined and yet, to most, remain unknown.  These ten stories confirm how good he is.’
— Corriere Della Serre

Dimensions: B Format 198mm x 129mm
Published: 20 October 2022
ISBN: 978-1911648475
Cover design: © Luke Bird
Cover artwork: © Krisztina Dózsa-Farkas

Publicist: Jordan Taylor-Jones
Agent: Stuart Bernstein at Stuart Bernstein Representation for Artists

About the author 

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. In 2023 he was selected as a MacArthur Fellow.

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

Anyone Can Do It 

Her immediate concern was money. It was a Friday when the men didn’t come home from the fields and, true, sometimes they wouldn’t return until late, the headlights of the neighborhood work truck turn- ing the corner, the men drunk and laughing from the bed of the pickup. And, true, other women might have thought first about the green immigration vans prowling the fields and the orchards all around the Valley, ready to take away the men they might not see again for days if good luck held, or longer if they found no luck at all.

When the street fell silent at dusk, the screen doors of the dark houses opened one by one and the shadows of the women came to sit outside, a vigil on the concrete steps. Delfina was one of them, but her worry was a different sort. She didn’t know these women yet and these women didn’t know her: she and her husband and her little boy had been in the neighborhood for only a month, renting a two-room house at the end of the street, with a narrow screened-in back porch, a tight bathroom with no insulation, and a mildewed kitchen. There was only a dirt yard for the boy to play in and they had to drive into the town center to use the pay phone to call back to Texas, where Delfina was from. They had been here just long enough for Delfina’s husband to be welcomed along to the fieldwork, the pay split among all the neighborhood men, the work truck chugging away from the street before the sun even rose.

When Delfina saw the first silhouette rise in defeat, she thought of the private turmoil these other women felt in the absence of their men, and she knew that her own house held none of that. Just days before the end of June, with the rent due soon, she thought that all the women on the front steps might believe that nothing could be any different until the men returned, that nothing could change until they arrived back from wherever they had been taken. She knew the gravity of her worry, to be sure, but she felt a resolve that seemed absent in the women putting out last cigarettes and retreat- ing behind the screen doors. She watched as the street went dark past sundown and the neighborhood children were sent inside to bed. The longer she held her place on her front steps, the stronger she felt.

Cornellians, 30 November 2023: Giving Voice to the Often Voiceless, Alum Wins a ‘Genius Grant’

The Common, 25 September 2023: Beyond Their Labor: Manuel Muñoz and Helena María Viramontes on Writing the Lives of Farmworkers

Corriere Della Serre, September 2023: Me la cavavo bene Poi mi innamorai

The Empty Chair Podcast by PEN SA, 22 June 2023: Manuel Muñoz and Lester Walbrugh: “The Real Mystery of Everyday Stories”

Breaking Form Podcast, 20 May 2023: The Consequences (with guest Manuel Muñoz)

Instagram, 16 May 2023: Compromisos, a short story from The Consequences, will be in the 2023 Best American Short Stories collection, edited by Min Jin Lee

Aspen Public Radio, 13 April 2023:Aspen Words Literary Prize finalist Manuel Muñoz channels stories of California’s Central Valley

The Gay & Lesbian Review, 22 March 2023: Manuel Muñoz on the Power of LGBTQ Characters

BookBrunch, 27th January 2023: What We’re Reading

Brick Lane Bookshop Podcast, 27 January 2023, The Consequences with Manuel Muñoz

Yvette Benavides for Book Public from Texas Public Radio, 29 December 2022: The Consequences

Alison Kelly for the Times Literary Supplement, 22 December 2022: Too wide for cameras: American stories of betrayal, love and revenge

Electric Literature, 21 December 2022: Electric Lit’s Favorite Short Story Collections of 2022

David Hayden for the Guardian, 15 December 2022: The Consequences by Manuel Muñoz review – California dreaming

The Atlantic, 13 December 2022: The Books That Made Us Think the Most This Year

The White Review, 8 December 2022: Books of the Year

Michael Schaub, NPR, 22 November 2022: ;It’s hard to imagine a more gorgeous collection of short fiction than the latest book from Arizona-based author Manuel Muñoz. ….This is one of the best short story collections to come around in recent years.’

The New York Times 21 November 2022: Story Collections That Ask: ‘How Did I Get Here?’

Alta, 21 November 2022: Inside Out: The characters in Manuel Muñoz’s The Consequences are hesitant to reveal too much.

San Francisco Chronicle Review, 16 November 2022: Yearning, love and regret at the heart of standout stories set in Central Valley 

Literary Hub, 1 November 2022: Manuel Muñoz on Trying and Failing to Tell The Story of His Biological Father

 Lunate, 30 October 2022: The Consequences: Stories by Manuel Muñoz

Literary Hub, 25 October 2022: Manuel Muñoz on Writing Through Uncertainty

Story Club with George Sanders, 23 October 2022:A very new story, from a great contemporary writer.

Eithne Farry for The Daily Mail, 21 October 2022: ‘There’s a glow of warmth as Munoz’s compassionate gaze lends grace to these incandescent tales of striving and survival. ‘

Andres Ordica for The Skinny, 18 October 2022: The Consequences by Manuel Muñoz – Book Review

Orion Magazine, 13 October 2022: Encounters with Spirit: An Interview with Sandra Cisneros

Electric Lit, 5 October 2022: What it’s worth giving up to stay in a family

World Literature Today, 3 October 2022: The Consequences of Story: A Conversation with Manuel Muñoz

Oprah Daily, 19 September 2022: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with These 18 Must-Read Books by Latinx Authors

Los Angeles Times, 26 August 2022: Manuel Muñoz’s stories capture a Central Valley you’ve never seen

Kirkus, 27 July 2022: Starred Review

Publishers Weekly, 22 July 2022: Starred Review 

Winner of the 2022 Philip Freund Prize for Creative Writing Recipients

The Independent, 5 May 2022: Ten books by Latino authors you should be reading, according to Sandra Cisneros

So Now That We’re Talking… Podcast, April 2021: Manuel Muñoz (Writer)

The New York Times, 1st December 2020: 11 New Books We Recommend This Week

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