The Journal of Antonio Montoya is the first book of the Guadalupe series.
When little José Montoya’s parents are killed one August morning by a cow, his Tia Ramona and his Tio Flavio are troubled by how best to raise the boy. After the funeral, they drive to their childhood home behind the village office, but “before they reach the house, the front door swung open and Ramona’s grandfather, Epolito Montoya, who had been dead for thirteen years, stood in the doorway. ‘Why are you out in the rain?’ he said.”
Ramona has returned reluctantly to this isolated village in northern New Mexico and to the family that never lets go. As she tries to build a modern life here on her own terms, and still to care for young José, she discovers that she can reach through time, see the richness of her heritage, and reclaim riches, knowledge, art that disappeared generations ago. In fact, she can speak with her ancestors and learn their stories.
These, finally, are the fortunes she will try to pass on to José.
Madewell Brown is the fourth book of the Guadalupe Series.
As recorded in Rick Collignon’s second novel, Perdido, a tall black man with one arm longer than the other walked into Guadalupe, New Mexico one morning about 50 years ago, stayed pretty much to himself for seven years, and then walked back out of town. No one knew who he was or what became of him. Now, as his last act, an old man named Ruffino Trujillo tells his grown son Cipriano a story about what became of the black man. After Ruffino’s death, Cipriano discovers an old canvas bag bearing the name of Madewell Brown. Inside are a hand-carved doll, an old blanket, an unlabeled photo of a Negro League baseball team, and a small, yellowing envelope that was never posted. Thinking it the least he can do, Cipriano mails the letter.
When it arrives in Cairo, Illinois, it comes into the hands of a young woman named Rachael, who believes it is from her lost grandfather. She believes this because of all that she’s been told by the raggedy old man who taught her everything: Obie Poole, who was Madewell’s friend and the orphaned Rachael’s anchor, the man who gives this eloquent novel its authentic sense of history lived. Drawn magically forward on Rick Collignon’s direct and haunting prose, we follow Rachael to Guadalupe in search of her own identity and we watch as Cipriano tries to make sense of the story his father told him about a dead man who didn’t belong there.
This fourth installment in Collignon’s beloved Guadalupe series is as magical as its predecessors, as emotionally honest, as surprising—and it firmly establishes Rick Collignon as a master American storyteller.
Perdido is the second book of the Guadalupe Series.
Madewell Brown walked into the village on a hot, dry day in 1946. A solitary black man with one arm longer than the other, he had never found a place for himself. Never, that is, until he had painted his own history on the interior walls of his adobe house in Guadalupe.
Fifty years later, Will Sawyer’s truck runs out of gas, and as he walks that same long road back into town he knows it’s best to keep his eyes on the ground. But he doesn’t understand the town’s long history of displacement or the difficulty of truly fitting in there, until he hears the story of the dead girl found hanging from Las Manos Bridge.
In Perdido, Collignon returns to the same magical town he first introduced in The Journal of Antonio Montoya. Once again mixing present and past, living and dead, he delivers a forthright and unflinching examination of race, belonging, and identity. With this novel, Collignon shows that a powerful new voice in American fiction has arrived.
A Santo is the third book of the Guadalupe Series.
The gentle-hearted Flavio Montoya returns, now as the aged scion of his family, still tending his sister Ramona’s fields and wondering how all of his family could have died before him. When the mountains surrounding Guadalupe erupt in flames, the history of the village seems to be set loose in the smoke. The dead arrive and the silent speak. When Flavio is accused of starting the fire that quickly threatens to consume the village, the disaster becomes one more mystery that he must fold into his own memory, though he cannot quite understand any of it.
A Santo in the Image of Cristóbal García is a beautiful, funny, even epic tale of how all history is finally personal.