Night at the Fiestas: Stories (Hardcover)
Winner of the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction
A New York Times Notable Book of 2015
Set in northern New Mexico, an astonishing, beautifully rendered debut about growing up in a land shaped by love, loss and violence.
With intensity and emotional precision, Kirstin Valdez Quade's unforgettable stories plunge us into the fierce, troubled hearts of characters defined by the desire to escape the past or else to plumb its depths. The deadbeat father of a pregnant teenager tries to transform his life by playing the role of Jesus in a bloody penitential Passion. A young man discovers that his estranged father and a boa constrictor have been squatting in his grandmother’s empty house. A lonely retiree new to Santa Fe becomes obsessed with her housekeeper. One girl attempts to uncover the mystery of her cousin's violent past, while another young woman finds herself at an impasse when she is asked to hear her priest's confession.
Always hopeful, these stories chart the passions and obligations of family life, exploring themes of race, class, and coming-of-age, as Quade's characters protect, betray, wound, undermine, bolster, define, and, ultimately, save each other.
Quade’s ability to depict an entire world within the limitations of a single story is reminiscent of Alice Munro… the final story …is an emotional tour de force.
— Publishers Weekly
Remarkable… In almost every story, Quade goes for vivid spectacle and theatrical plot twists… But Quade focuses just as intensely on the subtler customs, cruelties, kindnesses, and skewed alliances of precarious family life… If Quade ever yearned to escape her archaic Catholic heritage and redefine herself, let’s be glad she didn’t. Her vision has thrived on its fierce, flesh-conscious desire for transcendence.
— Ann Hulbert - The Atlantic
Fresh, funny…. A gifted storyteller with an eye for quirky, compelling detail…. A poised and polished debut.
— Jenny Shank - Dallas Morning News
[Lives] up to even the loftiest of expectations.
— Bustle (Spring Break Recommended Read)
It's become cliché to say that a writer's short stories have the weight of novels, but in Kirstin's case it happens to be true. Her New Mexico is a crucible where individual desire is forged, lost, and reconstituted amid a backdrop of colliding histories and cultures. The result is as close to flesh and blood as black ink on white paper can come. She is a story writer of searing vision.
— Anthony Marra
Kirstin Valdez Quade is a fantastic writer, both stylish and sagacious. The stories here are taut and tense, while at the same time morally complicated, which is to say they cut sharp and they cut deep. Night at the Fiestas is a book of extraordinary virtuosity.
— Justin Torres
A stunning debut. With unflinching honesty and relentless compassion, Kirstin Valdez Quade conjures characters that are uncannily alive. Vibrant, incisive, and wickedly funny, Night at the Fiestas announces the arrival of a fiercely original new voice.
— Jennifer duBois
A debut collection filled with stories that read like classics (reminiscent of the work of Alice Munro or Flannery O'Connor), by a young author who writes with the patient, implacable wisdom of time.
— Peter Ho Davies
Kirstin Valdez Quade is a writer of extraordinary perception, a sharp-eyed truth-teller who renders her characters and the landscapes they inhabit with exquisite care. Each of these marvelous stories illuminates the messy, tender, unexplored borderland inside us all where our finest virtues bleed into our worst faults. A brilliant debut.
— Maggie Shipstead
Coverage from NPR
THE SANTA FE LITERARY FESTIVAL
Celebrating the power of story, the inaugural Santa Fe Literary Festival will be an unforgettable weekend dedicated to a shared love and language of ideas. Collected Works Bookstore is thrilled to be the official bookstore of the Festival.
Bestselling, prizewinning authors and literary legends like Margaret Atwood, Joy Harjo, Colson Whitehead, Sandra Cisneros, John Grisham, amongst others, will headline the festival, discussing their work with readings and book signings that set the stage for further inspired conversations.
NOTE: If you purchase a festival event ticket that is INCLUSIVE of the author's book, you will receive that book upon check-in for your event at the festival.
To order books by festival authors directly from CW, see below. Collected Works will be carrying a wide selection of books by all participating authors available for online pre-order and at the on-site festival bookstore May 20-23.
Purchase your books by festival authors directly from CW below: