The Book of Wanderers
Reyes Ramirez’s dynamic short story collection follows new lineages of Mexican and Salvadoran diasporas traversing life in Houston, across borders, and even on Mars. Themes of wandering weave throughout each story, bringing feelings of unease and liberation as characters navigate cultural, physical, and psychological separation and loss from one generation to the next in a tumultuous nation.
The Book of Wanderers deeply explores Houston, a Gulf Coast metropolis that incorporates Southern, Western, and Southwestern identities near the borderlands with a connection to the cosmos. As such, each story becomes increasingly further removed from our lived reality, engaging numerous genres from emotionally touching realist fiction to action-packed speculative fiction, as well as hallucinatory realism, magical realism, noir, and science fiction.
Fascinating characters and unexpected plots unpack what it means to be Latinx in contemporary—and perhaps future—America. The characters work, love, struggle, and never stop trying to control their reality. They dream of building communities and finding peace. How can they succeed if they must constantly leave one place for another? In a nation that demands assimilation, how can they define themselves when they have to start anew with each generation? The characters in The Book of Wanderers create their own lineages, philosophies for life, and markers for their humanity at the cost of home. So they remain wanderers . . . for now.
"Hop on the surrealist bus to understanding that Reyes Ramirez conjures for us, and you’ll hear echoes of Dashiell Hammett, Gabriel García Márquez and Alfonsina Storni. But ultimately, Ramirez’s short story collection is singular, and the real deal."—NPR, Books We Love
"Each story in The Book of Wanderers takes us through settings and experiences unified by their searching and search for identity, yet they’re all unique, often experimental. In these stories, Ramirez shows stylistic range and a well-developed voice characterized by an affinity for the beautiful sentence, told his own way."—Jake Stimmel, Southern Review of Books
"The Book of Wanderers is a powerful short story collection that is as devastating as it is hopeful."—Foreword
"As part of the Camino Del Sol Latinx Literary Series, Reyes Ramirez’ debut collection The Book of Wanderers offers readers a versatile selection of stories that explore class, race, and the intrinsically-linked idea of structural inequality."—Anthony Isaac Bradley and Valerie Wardh, Infrarrealista Review
“Ramirez’s expert blending of observational humor, hard truths, and situational ennui makes for a reading experience that has you laughing one moment and crestfallen the next. The characters don’t only leap from the page, they haunt you and the way you navigate the known world around you that, upon closer inspection, is anything but.”—Daniel Peña, author of Bang
“Reyes Ramirez is an exciting new Latinx fiction writer who dares to go where many writers cannot: into the imagination, into the future, but rooted in our own often oppressive and angry world.”—Daniel Chacón, author of Kafka in a Skirt
“Wildly inventive, sometimes melancholy, and possessed of an abiding sense of compassion and justice, Reyes Ramirez’s collection is inhabited by a group of unforgettable wanderers exploring and redefining familiar, strange, and future worlds.”—ire’ne lara silva, author of Cuicacalli / House of Song