Kirstin Valdez Quade had been on my reading list for months earlier this year, so I was delighted to find her short story, “Christina the Astonishing (1150-1224)” in a New Yorker this past July. (New Yorker, July 24, 2017). I’m now essentially commanded to dive into her 2015 story collection, Night at the Fiestas.
Night at the Fiestas received the John Leonard Prize from the National Book Critics Circle and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. It became a New York Times Notable Book, and was named a best book of 2015 by the San Francisco Chronicle and the American Library Association.
Quade hails from northern New Mexico, where she is proud to say her family has lived for centuries. This connection to a landscape, whether the southwest or 12th Century Belgium, and to family relationships and their inevitable betrayals, finds its way to the surface in “Christina” in a remarkably haunting way that is both style and beautiful substance.
On Monday evening, September 25, Quade will do a reading at the University of Tennessee as part of the popular Writers in the Library Series. The reading will take place at 7 PM in the Lindsay Young Auditorium of the John C. Hodges Library on the UT Campus.