The Consequences (eBook)


Manuel Muñoz

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SKU: 006850039010 Category:

20 October 2022
ISBN 978-1911648475
Cover design © Luke Bird
Cover artwork © Krisztina Dózsa-Farkas

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.

Praise for The Consequences

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

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

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.

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

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. ‘

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

North American edition

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