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.