Originally from New Mexico, Collected Works bookseller alumna, current Princeton University professor, and National Book Critics Circle Award winner Kirsten Valdiz Quade will discuss her book The Five Wounds with author and activist Denise Chávez.
Quade’s penetrating debut novel (expanded from a story in Night at the Fiestas) tells of a man’s quest for self-acceptance through the metaphor of the five wounds Jesus suffered during crucifixion. In the New Mexico village of Las Penas, Amadeo Padilla, an unemployed alcoholic, has been tapped to play Jesus in the yearly reenactment of the Passion play orchestrated by the “hermandad,” or the Hermanos Penitentes, a secretive order of devoted, self-flagellating Catholics. Amadeo, along with his pregnant teenage daughter Angel (who shows up unannounced during Passion Week) and his silently suffering mother, Yolanda, recently diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma, complicate Amadeo’s path to redemption. Tragedy abounds when Angel is expelled from her hybrid GED-parenting program, Amadeo’s alcoholism causes a life-threatening accident, and Yolanda’s cancer worsens. Eventually, Amadeo realizes that immediate redemption is overrated, but his devotion to thoughts of Jesus’s suffering may just yield hard-fought transcendence.
The Five Wounds has been named one of the Most Anticipated Books of 2021 by Oprah Magazine, The Week, The Millions, and Electric Lit.
The Zoom link for the event can be found on the Collected Works website.
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