$23.00ISBN: 9781476784960Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Scribner Book Company - March 10th, 2015
There are few things more exciting for readers than discovering fresh voices—voices that tell us something new in ways that surprise us. In his astonishing debut collection Barefoot Dogs it is clear that Antonio Ruiz-Camacho is a young writer possessed of such a voice—or more accurately voices—because, although each is first person, every voice is distinctive, and utterly true to character. Initially, given the difference in the background and location of the characters from tale to tale, the reader wonders if or how they connect. There are the voices of privileged youth, some eager, displaying a belief that the world lies spread out at their feet; others innocent, in denial but too young to know it; still others simultaneously questioning their new reality and seeking oblivion. Adult voices, whether of wealthy women, of maids, or of men, are trying to make sense of the world in which they find themselves—and trying to survive. Which is a trick since they are connected by ragged threads of the violence that pervades modern Mexico, haunted, whether aware of this fact or not, by the aftermath of such violence on lives, even those lived far away. All of which sounds painful but in every single tale, Antonio Ruiz-Camacho fills you with such consuming curiosity about these people, their backstories, the why of what drives each of them, that you pant eagerly along dazzled by the narrative, wondering, sometimes laughing. Then slowly, as the stories stack up, the reader begins to realize these aren’t really stories at all—although to reveal the reasons would be to spoil something wonderful that they collectively achieve. Simple details resonate across the individual narratives, gaining metaphorical power, and connections emerge, gradually informing us—about a country, a way of life, and a set of characters you will never forget. In Barefoot Dogs, Antonio Ruiz-Camacho proves himself to be a young writer with a brilliant future.