Even before its official release on August 10th, Oscar Casares’ novel, “Amigoland,” is following in the footsteps of his acclaimed 2003 debut, “Brownsville.” Both Kirkus and Publishers Weekly gave the novel starred reviews, and USA Today and Time Out New York included it on their recommended summer reading lists even before it was in print. Harper’s and The Wall Street Journal, among others, have upcoming reviews and Texas Monthly has excerpted the novel in its August issue. A state-wide tour is scheduled in bookstores, on campuses, and at literary festivals throughout the fall.
Austin’s BookPeople will host a reading by Casares and a book signing at 7 p.m., Thursday, August 13.
Casares joined fiction faculty of the Department of English and the Michener Center for Writers in 2004 after “Brownsville’s” publication to critical acclaim. Reviewers agreed that his collected stories had captured the unique Tex Mex culture of his hometown and the ordinary joys and sorrows of his characters without reducing them to socioeconomic stereotypes or writing “message” fiction. The New York Times said “with quiet mastery of the smallest detail, Casares puts us on neighborly terms with the locals.”
“Amigoland,” set on the South Texas border with Mexico, is the story of estranged brothers Don Fidencio Rosales—querulous, nearly 92 years old, and living in a nursing home—and Don Celestino, twenty years his junior and newly widowed, who finds himself somewhat ambivalently involved with his young cleaning woman, Socorro. The housekeeper is a catalyst for the brothers reconnecting, and the improbable trio takes off on a bus trip into Mexico, where the siblings hope to settle a long-standing dispute about how their grandfather arrived in the U.S. and Socorro hopes to find clarity in her unlikely romance. The trip stirs up powerful issues of family and pride and about how we care for the people we love.
BookPeople is on the corner of West 6th Street and North Lamar Blvd.