"Rarely does a collection of stories, and coruscatingly well crafted ones like Barefoot Dogs, weave an intricate balance of struggle, familial affliction with a diversity deserving of accolades. Ruiz-Camacho’s debut is laudable in scope and the breadth of emotion of the character’s lives altered by a family-tree rooted in atrocity is literally breathtaking. He will undoubtedly be on the radar for years to come, and we need to be sure to celebrate the appearance of an author as creatively endowed as Antonio."
— Jim B.
March 2015 Indie Next List
“What people lose defines how they live their lives and this vibrant collection of stories illustrates this point with a literary verve that is electrifying! When the patriarch of a rich and thriving Mexican family is kidnapped, the family scatters across the world to save themselves. Ruiz-Camacho focuses on the lives of the rich and privileged in Mexican society, so used to servants and having things done for them that when the Arteaga family is left to its own devices, they have difficulty coping. This is a very entertaining and moving collection of interwoven stories highlighting the profound talent of a new author. Thought-provoking and memorable.”
— Raul Chapa, Book People, Austin, TX
An unforgettable debut of linked stories that follow the members and retinue of a wealthy Mexican family forced into exile after the patriarch is kidnapped.
On an unremarkable night, Jose Victoriano Arteaga--the head of a thriving Mexico City family--vanishes on his way home from work. The Arteagas find few answers; the full truth of what happened to Arteaga is lost to the shadows of Mexico's vast and desperate underworld, a place of rampant violence and kidnappings, and government corruption. But soon packages arrive to the family house, offering horrifying clues.
Fear, guilt, and the prospect of financial ruination fracture the once-proud family and scatter them across the globe, yet delicate threads still hold them together: in a swimming pool in Palo Alto, Arteaga's young grandson struggles to make sense of the grief that has hobbled his family; in Mexico City, Arteaga's mistress alternates between rage and heartbreak as she waits, in growing panic, for her lover's return; in Austin, the Arteagas' housekeeper tries to piece together a second life in an alienating and demeaning new land; in Madrid, Arteaga's son takes his ailing dog through the hot and unforgiving streets, in search of his father's ghost.
Multiple award-winning author Antonio Ruiz-Camacho offers an exquisite and intimate evocation of the loneliness, love, hope, and fear that can bind a family even as unspeakable violence tears it apart. "A straight-on jab to the soul" (Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
), Barefoot Dogs
is a heartfelt elegy to the stolen innocence of every family struck by tragedy. This is urgent and vital fiction.