Barefoot Dogs

Antonio Ruiz-Camacho. Scribner, $23 (160p) ISBN 978-1-4767-8496-0
When these linked short stories begin, things are still good for the extended Arteaga family. For teenaged Fernanda, who narrates the first story, it’s the “year everybody’s planning to spend the summer in Italy,” everybody being her and her affluent friends, none of whom has ever taken a cab or subway in their native Mexico. But then Fernanda’s grandfather, patriarch José Victoriano Arteaga, is kidnapped, and body parts start arriving in the mail. The rest of the stories chart the family’s dissolution as they (along with their maids—who are like family, except, of course, for all the ways they aren’t) flee Mexico City. In an assured debut, Ruiz-Camacho inhabits the minds of Arteaga’s extended family, as well as his mistress and the more peripheral characters of his life. In exile in Austin, Madrid, New York, and Palo Alto, the Artegas struggle with the frightening situation, as well as their sense of themselves and the world. A grandson tries to make friends in his new school; a son can’t be a father to his own newborn; a daughter takes a lover; secrets and loss are everywhere. Experiencing the ways in which various family members cope—or fail to—with their new reality makes for gripping, somber reading. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/12/2015
Release date: 03/10/2015
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 160 pages - 978-1-4767-8498-4
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-1-4767-8497-7
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