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Malas: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Malas: A Novel By Marcela Fuentes Cover Image
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Staff Reviews


Malas is the first novel I’ve read in a long time that had me immersed instantaneously. Marcela Fuentes has created a stunning debut, a novel that feels more like vocal legend than written word. The language within it is incredibly unique and rich; the sweltering Texas heat is felt in every page, the looming fear of a destined curse can be heard pounding in every character’s heart. Malas is nothing short of incredible. — Nikole

Description


A story full of passion and revenge, following one family living on the Texas Mexico border and a curse that reverberates across generations--"Fuentes has achieved something rare and indelible with this story of complex women.” (Erika L. Sánchez)

In 1951, a mysterious old woman confronts Pilar Aguirre in the small border town of La Cienega, Texas. The old woman is sure Pilar stole her husband and, in a heated outburst, lays a curse on Pilar and her family.

More than forty years later, Lulu Muñoz is dodging chaos at every turn: her troubled father’s moods, his rules, her secret life as singer in a punk band, but most of all her upcoming quinceañera. When her beloved grandmother passes away, Lulu finds herself drawn to the glamorous stranger who crashed the funeral and who lives alone and shunned on the edge of town.

Their unexpected kinship picks at the secrets of Lulu’s family’s past. As the quinceañera looms—and we move between these two strong, irascible female voices—one woman must make peace with the past, and one girl pushes to embrace her future.

Rich with cinematic details—from dusty rodeos to the excitement of a Selena concert and the comfort of conjunto ballads played at family gatherings—this memorable debut is a love letter to the Tejano culture and community that sustain both of these women as they discover what family means.

About the Author


Marcela Fuentes is a Pushcart Prize-winning fiction writer and essayist. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and was the 2016-2017 James C. McCreight Fiction Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in the Indiana Review, The Rumpus, Texas Highways Magazine, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and other journals. Her debut novel MALAS (June 2024) and linked story collection MY HEART HAS MORE ROOMS THAN A WHOREHOUSE are forthcoming from Viking Books. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas.

Praise For…


Malas is a machete: sharp, terrifying, and beautiful. Each character feels dynamic, familiar, and so utterly human in their glorious messiness. Fuentes has achieved something rare and indelible with this story of complex women.”
--Erika L. Sánchez, New York Times bestseller author of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter and Crying in the Bathroom
 
“Fuentes seamlessly knits familiar history and urban legend with a heartfelt, modern, coming of age story to deliver a vivacious, page-turning novel of rebellion and rebirth. The truth, in the hands of Fuentes lively and beautiful prose, liberates these characters and the reader alike."
--Xochitl Gonzalez, New York Times bestselling author of Olga Dies Dreaming
 
Malas ensnares you with its antic energy, vibrant secrets, and the wickedly smart, self-assured Lulu at the center of it all. An enviably electric debut from Marcela Fuentes, who knows in her bones that the bad girls living in family cuentos, in telenovelas, and in town gossip are also the ones that glow with the brightest fire inside.” -
--Manuel Muñoz, author of The Consequences


"Fuentes’ stunning debut shows us the sweeping mythic stature of the past alongside and running beneath the tactile and urgent present. Her gifts with storytelling and character propel us naturally from time to time in this gripping narrative of grief and release.” 
--Aimee Bender, New York Times bestselling author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and The Butterfuly Lampshade

"Malas is a marvel. At once epic and intimate, is packed with a cast of unforgettable characters - teenage members of a punk band, frustrated fathers trying to outrun a curse, women whose friendship transcends time and circumstance - all desperate to be seen. And Marcela Fuentes lets us see these characters in all their facets and flaws as we laugh, cry, and live alongside them."
--Vanessa Chan, author of The Storm We Made

Malas gorgeously captures both the vibrancy and the cost of becoming the kind of woman who sets her own path, creates her own rituals, and mourns her own losses. Marcela Fuentes writes with a visceral precision about family, grief, and what it means to move through the world holding on to both your independence and your ties to community. This is a dazzling, heartbreaking, and triumphant debut.” —Danielle Evans, author of The Office of Historical Corrections and Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self


Product Details
ISBN: 9780593655788
ISBN-10: 0593655788
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: June 4th, 2024
Pages: 384
Language: English