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Night at the Fiestas

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,333 ratings  ·  235 reviews
With intensity and emotional precision, Kirstin Valdez Quade's unforgettable stories plunge us into the fierce, troubled hearts of characters defined by the desire to escape the past or else to plumb its depths. The deadbeat father of a pregnant teenager tries to transform his life by playing the role of Jesus in a bloody penitential Passion. A young man discovers that his ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 7th 2016 by W. W. Norton Company (first published March 16th 2015)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  1,333 ratings  ·  235 reviews


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Elyse  Walters
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm so blown away.....but it's not just me.... MOST READERS will be!!!

ZERO SPOILERS .... it's not a long book!!!! Go in BLIND!

"Night of the Fiestas", by Kirstin Valdez Quade, is a MUST BE READ!!!!

10 short stories in this collection. My poor husband-- OH MY GOSH... I literately spilled-the-beans on each story .....( forgive me Kirsten Valdez Quade).
I HAD SO MUCH FUN, being my "husband's story-re-creator".
I'm bad - but, if you know your husband's not going to read your book himself, how else
...more
Iris P
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for well-written short stories
Recommended to Iris P by: Elyse Walters
Night at the Fiestas


★★★★ 4 Stars!

So I've been in a sort of a short-stories binge these last couple of weeks. After reading the wonderful Anything Is Possible, I was not expecting to jump into another book of short fiction so soon, but my friend Elyse had recently recommended this collection and I decided to at least sample a few of these stories. As it happens, the first one, called Nemecia , pulled me in immediately and I found myself unable to stop reading and listening.

Mostly set in New M
...more
Hannah
Nov 30, 2016 rated it liked it
The three stars are an emotional rating. It is the only way I know how to rate books. While I understand intellectually how great these stories are and how well constructed and how insightful, they made me uncomfortable. And again, I understand how that is a sign of a book well-written, this being able to ellicit emotions in me; it still wasn't something I enjoyed.

At the heart of these stories are families; or people at crossroads. Usually I really like reading about family dynamics but for som
...more
Roxane
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding collection. Nearly flawless. The story about Amadeo is so amazing. Worth checking out. Last story fell flat for me.
Jill
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories

I’ve read a lot of short story collections but this one just blew me away. There are only two types of stories that comprise the collection: those that are excellent and those that are outstanding. Every single one was so haunting and memorable that it’s hard to decide which ones to highlight.

The Five Wounds may arguably be the one that stands out the most. A neer-do-well named Padilla is chosen to reenact Christ’s passion, carrying a heavy wooden cross through dusty New Mexican streets and expe
...more
Lisa
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
[3.5] I liked this collection, set in New Mexico, and found each story absorbing, capturing a pivotal time in the character's life. ...more
Kasa Cotugno
An amazing collection, unusual in that featuring hispanic heritage, living mostly in New Mexico, but it is the human interaction in each story that makes each sing. Mostly these involve generational conflicts, but there is not a cliche, not a predictable outcome present at any time. Whether it's a young, pregnant 15 year old dealing with her deadbeat father who is taking part in an Easter mystery pageant, a housekeeper protecting her troubled, troubling son, an eleven year old being raised by he ...more
Xueting
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kirsten Valdez Quade writes her narrative and dialogue like a spread of butter on toast, seamlessly connected and constantly enjoyable. I'm probably overreaching my own abilities but I feel like she writes in a style very much like mine - or at least the style I love to write and want to write. That's a big reason why I'm so drawn to her stories here. Her first sentences grab me and the rest of the stories continue to pull me in in very straightforward, honest language that I can only describe a ...more
Ellie
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This collection of short stories set in the southwester United States (northern New Mexico) has many fine stories. The first story deals with the complicated relationship between two cousins, one who bullies the younger who both admires and resents her cousin. There is a story I found somewhat frightening involving a reenactment of the crucifixion of Jesus.

All the stories are extremely well-written and completely absorbed me, a feat that can be especially difficult with a short story. The beaut
...more
Stephanie
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was a little girl growing up in northern New Mexico, we used to hear whispered rumors of the Penitentes, the Catholic brotherhood that lives semi-secretly in these mountains. Famous for whipping themselves, they also get very *very* into their sacraments, such as the one depicted in Quade's story "The Five Wounds" in which that year's Christ is nailed to a cross—with real nails. The passion of the Penitentes was so bloody that it was said our mountains, the Sangre de Cristos, were named f ...more
Kara
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you feel that short stories are an acquired taste, these intense and uncomfortable tales just might make you a fast fan. The writing is straightforward, no fancy tricks of prose here. Her poignancy lies in an ability to make you squirm in your reading chair. The common thread throughout is subtle Hispanic cultural ties. The situations the characters find themselves in transcend the cliché. Vladez Quade absolutely earned her National Book Foundation '5 under 35' award. ...more
Zora O'Neill
Sep 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm from NM, so maybe these stories resonate with me more than with the average reader? I'll be curious to see other comments when the book comes out. For now, it's great to read fiction set there. The story about the Penitente crucifixion that ran in the New Yorker a few years ago has stuck with me, so I was really happy to see this full collection of stories (including that one). A couple of them felt a tiny bit thin or caricatured, but overall, they're carefully drawn portraits with very smar ...more
Lisa Eckstein
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
The stories in this collection succeed at the difficult task of taking small moments in ordinary lives and rendering them fascinating. These are all beautifully detailed portraits of people and relationships that I was able to quickly care about and remain engrossed in, something I can't often say about short stories.

The stories are set in New Mexico and other parts of the American West, in a variety of eras ranging from the 1920s to the present day. Many deal with class differences or cultural
...more
Galen Johnson
This was a wonderful read, full of well-developed characters at emotional precipices in their lives. I usually prefer the character development and plot of a novel, but I found all of these stories satisfying. The author does an excellent job of creating individuals out of her characters but capturing universal moments and emotions. Her writing is flowing and readable, with apt descriptions of both people and events that are original and lovely. In a story centered on a single mother-to-be who w ...more
Taryn
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like with short stories, you either immediately buy in to whatever weirdness the author presents, or you don't. I was able to find that entry point quickly with this collection by 5 Under 35 Honoree Kirstin Valdez Quade. The stories, most set in rural New Mexico and centered around themes of family ties and obligations, had me hooked within the first page.

My favorite story, “Canute Commands the Tides,” wasn't my favorite because it left me feeling warm and fuzzy. It actually made me prett
...more
Andrea
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
What an amazing book of stories. I've read whole novels where I never feel like I get to know the characters in the way I do in a ten page short story by Ms. Quade.
These are stories featuring women in a dominant, but not exclusive, light. And they aren't always strong. They are flawed, naive, gullible. The men are sometimes sidelined, but not always, and when they interact with the female characters they seem equal (in books, movies, tv, this is definitely not always the case).
The stories all ta
...more
Chris
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Damn. Damndamndamn. That's one helluva book.

Like the best, Quade introduces to us characters we have never seen or imagined but who seem immediately real in their stifled yearnings and smothered longings. Nearly all of the stories here manage to startle, some indelibly, and even the lesser stories show promise.

I'm still processing this one and suspect I will be for quite a while, but you could do worse than to just trust me and go pick this up right away.

For what it's worth, this book was awa
...more
Mindy Kannon
Jun 08, 2016 rated it liked it
I keep trying to like short stories but somehow they just doesn't work for me. These stories are OK but I'm sure it's just me. Short stories just don't seem to have enough depth to keep me engaged. They always leave me feeling like, there's got to be more to the story. ...more
Jenny Shank
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Published in Dallas Morning News, 20 March 2015 09:41 PM

Kirstin Valdez Quade’s remarkable debut story collection Night at the Fiestas, set mainly in tight-knit Catholic, Mexican-American communities in New Mexico, enthralls with tales of people striving to better their lives while enduring the aftermath of past mistakes. Those mistakes have a way of lingering visibly, emanating tension, often in the form of children of failed relationships.

Valdez Quade’s characters run the gamut of experience fr
...more
Holly
Nov 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another striking debut short-story collection. Some of the best contemporary writing these days is coming from short-story writers, and Kirstin Valdez Quade is no exception. Her stories explore physical and emotional poverty in New Mexico, California, and the dry, godforsaken Southwest. Her main themes: fractured families, hovering Catholicism, uncomfortable pasts, frustrated youths, and world-weary troubadours. Her characters are so genuine, frustrating, mistake-prone, real—I couldn't help ...more
Julia
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant collection; what a talented writer. I envy the way Quade can create an environment that is all at once stark & stunning, and plays so cleverly with themes of class, race, family & tone. An annoyingly good book.
Rebecca
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was drawn to this collection because of Valdez Quade's story "The Five Wounds," which appeared in the New Yorker several years ago. Its sense of culture, religion, place and character development are so powerful that I decided to teach it for my class, and my students love it as well.

Not all the stories resonated with me as much as "The Five Wounds." Several deal with dysfunctional families, often with some kind of abuse, and I found myself wanting a little less despair, a little more hope. Ho
...more
Book Concierge
Ever since I studied O Henry and Edgar Allan Poe in junior high, I have loved short stories. With this collection, Kristin Valdez Quade is added to my list of authors who have perfected this format.

It’s difficult to rate a collection, because some of the stories resonate more with me than others. Quade gives us ten beautifully written stories in this collection.

In The Five Wounds Amadeo tries to atone for past (and current) failures by playing the part of Jesus in the annual Good Friday re-ena
...more
Tailwinds Press
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You could do far worse than this book. I'd recommend buying it before a flight.

I find it hard to say anything bad or critical about this well crafted, taut and evocative collection of short stories focused on dramas taking place in the Southwest. More specifically, New Mexico. The author's use of language is impeccable. The plots are compelling. The characters are bathed in ambivalence and complexity.

I only give it 4 stars because it seems if there is only one way for this author to confront the
...more
Darri
Jun 10, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
God what a bummer. "The Five Wounds" was published in the New Yorker a few years ago and was such a banger and so affecting and I was PUMPED to read this collection. Sadly, it's a clunker! I had two stories left to read and found myself flipping through back issues of People magazine in order to avoid this massive disappointment of a book. These stories are so staid, so formulaic, so devoid of joy or exuberance or breathlessness. The writing is controlled to a fault. And then homegirl's throwing ...more
Sophia Tallon
I was lucky enough to receive an Advanced Reader's copy of this through goodreads first reads and I honestly loved this collection of short stories! They all flowed together perfectly yet could stand alone brilliantly! They all were so varied and each one had something interesting, exciting, and real happening. If asked which was my favourite I couldn't say. But what I can say is that I would seriously love to take all of these stories and make them into a whole film! ...more
Superstition Review
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Night at the Fiestas is a miraculous collection of stories that delve into the diversity that is the human race. In this book, we see a variety of characters that deal with real-life human emotions and situations. As we read, we see each character’s unique perspective on life and we also learn to understand them. They become three-dimensional people right before our eyes. Quade accomplishes all this flawlessly while keeping us hooked on a good story.

Review by Dennise Garcia
Courtney Maum
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Luminous, heart wrenching, hugely full of life and most interestingly-- very disturbing on some moral levels. A gorgeous read that demands a weekend put aside to immerse oneself fully in Quade's scintillating world. ...more
BookBully
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars for this magnificent debut. Quade is a master of the short story and is definitely an author to watch.
Maggie
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is good writing. Each story had the depth and weight of a fully-fleshed out novel. Universal issues, beautiful imagery, "real" people as characters. Loved it. ...more
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Kirstin Valdez Quade is the author of The Five Wounds and Night at the Fiestas, winner of the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize. She is the recipient of a “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation, the Rome Prize, and the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, New York Times, The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stor ...more

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