Barefoot Dogs: Stories.pdf
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, José 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.
"Barefoot Dogs is a splendid collection. Each of these stories is a straight-on jab to the soul, the kind of sharp fictional punch that wakes us up to our own flawed, fragile, essential humanity. With this debut collection, Antonio Ruiz-Camacho shows he's already a writer of the first rank, one of those rare storytellers who leaves you wanting more even as he breaks your heart." (Ben Fountain author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk)
“Antonio Ruiz-Camacho's Barefoot Dogs is bravura, brilliant, moving, hilarious—it's both clear-eyed and dreamy, strange and beautiful, stories for our time, and also for all-time.That it's his first book is a wonder, and a wonderful promise.” (Elizabeth McCracken, author of The Giant's House and Thunderstruck)
"Antonio Ruiz-Camacho has written a marvelous and moving story collection: Barefoot Dogs is a brilliant and devastating portrait of a scattered, entitled, and traumatized Mexican upper-class, waking up in horror to the reality of the country they once owned. A tour de force." (Daniel Alarcón, author of At Night We Walk in Circles)
For the last eighteen years, Antonio Ruiz-Camacho has worked as a journalist in Mexico, Europe, and the US. A 2009 Journalism Knight Fellow at Stanford University and a 2014 Dobie Paisano Fellow in Fiction, Ruiz-Camacho earned his MFA from the New Writers Project at UT Austin. His work has appeared in The New York Times, StoryQuarterly, Poets & Writers, and elsewhere. He is from Toluca, Mexico, and lives in Austin, Texas, with his family.