A Good Map of All Things
248 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
15 b&w illustrations, 1 map
Release Date:27 Oct 2020
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A Good Map of All Things

A Picaresque Novel

The University of Arizona Press

In Alberto Álvaro Ríos’s new picaresque novel, momentous adventure and quiet connection brings twenty people to life in a small town in northern Mexico. A Good Map of All Things is home to characters whose lives are interwoven but whose stories are their own, adding warmth and humor to this continually surprising communal narrative. The stories take place in the mid-twentieth century, in the high desert near the border—a stretch of land generally referred to as the Pimería Alta—an ancient passage through the desert that connected the territory of Tucson in the north and Guaymas and Hermosillo in the south. The United States is off in the distance, a little difficult to see, and, in the middle of the century, not the only thing to think about. Mexico City is somewhere to the south, but nobody can say where and nobody has ever seen it.

Ríos has created a whimsical yet familiar town, where brightly unique characters love fiercely and nurture those around them. The people in A Good Map of All Things have secrets and fears, successes and happiness, winters and summers. They are people who do not make the news, but who are living their lives for the long haul, without lotteries or easy answers or particular luck. Theirs is the everyday, with its small but meaningful joy. Whether your heart belongs to a small town in Mexico or a bustling metropolis, Alberto Álvaro Ríos has crafted a book that is overflowing with comfort, warmth, and the familiar embrace of a tightly woven community.

Ríos’s finely crafted chronicle brings great depth to the vicissitudes of life in a small Mexican village.'--Publishers Weekly

‘The people in this fictional town are weird, funny, beautiful, and they do crazy things. They remind me of my own family, and I can’t help but to love them. Alberto Ríos is a great storyteller.’—Daniel Chacón, author of Kafka in a Skirt

‘Ríos takes us to a home we’ve never been properly introduced to until now. Community activates through the sum of its parts, and though not always predictable as the stars, each of Ríos’s characters’ contributions is as necessary as the sun.’—Bryan Allen Fierro, author of Dodger Blue Will Fill Your Soul

A finalist for the National Book Award and the recipient of the Western Literature Association Distinguished Achievement Award, Alberto Álvaro Ríos has taught at Arizona State University since 1982. He is Arizona’s inaugural poet laureate, a recent chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. Ríos’s latest collection of poems is Not Go Away Is My Name, preceded by A Small Story About the Sky, The Dangerous Shirt, and The Theater of Night, winner of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award.

The Business Card
1. Dr. Bartolomeo’s Cure
The Newspaper Story
2. Lent and Given
The Marriage Certificate
3. Butter, Oranges, and Pink Coconut Candy
The Poem
4. A Century of Tears
The Prayer
5. The Asterisk Company
The Obituary, the Proclamation of a Death
6. The Night Miguel Torres Died
The Song on the Radio
7. Two Small Crimes
Civil Registration
8. Ten Seconds in Two Lives
The Map
9. Bernardo’s Corrido
The Green Card
10. One Tuesday in the Early Afternoon
The Bill
11. Licenciado Ubaldo Dos Santos, at Your Service
The Birth Certificate
12. Curandera
The Photograph
13. The History of History
The Telegram
14. The Five Visits of Archbishop
Oswaldo Calderón
The Letter

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