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Kirstin Valdez Quade

The Five Wounds

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By Kirstin Valdez Quade

A man plays Jesus Christ in an Easter reenactment and literally gets his hands nailed to a cross, in this charming debut about a New Mexican family.

Format: Paperback
Pages: 448

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WINNER OF THE CENTER FOR FICTION'S 2021 FIRST NOVEL PRIZE
WINNER OF THE 2022 ROSENTHAL FAMILY FOUNDATION AWARD
FINALIST FOR 2022 ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN FICTION
FINALIST FOR THE 2022 PEN/HEMINGWAY AWARD FOR DEBUT NOVEL
FINALIST FOR 2022 ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZE
ONE OF NPR'S BEST BOOKS OF 2021

It’s Holy Week in the small town of Las Penas, New Mexico, and 33-year old unemployed Amadeo Padilla has been given the part of Jesus in the Good Friday procession. He is preparing feverishly for this role when his fifteen-year-old daughter Angel shows up pregnant on his doorstep and disrupts his plans for personal redemption. With weeks to go until her due date, tough, ebullient Angel has fled her mother’s house, setting her life on a startling new path.

Vivid, tender, funny, and beautifully rendered, The Five Wounds spans the baby’s first year as five generations of the Padilla family converge: Amadeo’s mother, Yolanda, reeling from a recent discovery; Angel’s mother, Marissa, whom Angel isn’t speaking to; and disapproving Tíve, Yolanda’s uncle and keeper of the family’s history. Each brings expectations that Amadeo, who often solves his problems with a beer in his hand, doesn’t think he can live up to.

The Five Wounds is a miraculous debut novel from a writer whose stories have been hailed as “legitimate masterpieces” (New York Times). Kirstin Valdez Quade conjures characters that will linger long after the final page, bringing to life their struggles to parent children they may not be equipped to save.

Read if you: love family drama, as long as it's not your own.