We are proud to reintroduce the classic first novel by the author of Madewell Brown.
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.
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This debut novel begins with news of a death, but soon the dead are sitting up and demanding attention. Ramona must cope with a talkative sister-in-law and her husband, plus her grandparents, all dead, and all moving into her home that looks out on the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. She must endure their constant interference with the present. The past comes alive too in the novel's eponymous journal, one written in 1924 by the village historian and sculptor, a relative of Ramona's. Here the past and present are surreally intertwined.From Publishers Weekly:
Ramona Montoya, the main character of this slight but beautifully written first novel set in a dusty, timeless Southwestern town, is a 44-year-old painter whose house is inhabited by a host of dead relatives who speak, make coffee and occasionally borrow her truck. After her brother and sister-in-law are killed when their car hits a cow standing in the middle of the road, Ramona takes charge of her young nephew, Jose. (At the burial, Jose's mother sits up in her coffin and says "Ramona, I want you to take Jose.") Ramona's other brother, Flavio, estranged from his sister, is so unnerved by the ghostly relatives, he gives up on the idea of removing Jose from his strange new home. Ramona's dead grandmother, after clearing the table one night, hands her the journal of Antonio Montoya, another relative and a sculptor of religious statues. The 1924 journal is the story of the village, full of births, deaths, feuds and accidents, and its entries are woven into the narrative as Ramona reads them. While Ramona's story is imbued with her painterly sensibilities, the journal provides glimpses into the sculptor's art, the role of the santos in the lives of some of the villagers and the fate of the statues, which Ramona and little Jose will find. The novel becomes a mystical meditation on the workings of the artistic mind, but it begs for more of a plot. Still, Collignon delivers his own engaging brand of magical realism with a spare style, deadpan humor and bracingly fresh descriptions.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Bookseller Inventory # GOR005550659