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The Five Wounds: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Amadeo Padilla believes he understands what he needs to sacrifice in order to get his life together. He has made mistakes, but he thinks that if he can just be strong -- carry the cross in the Good Friday procession in his small town of Pas Penas, New Mexico, make himself take the nails, feel a little of what Christ felt -- then redemption and a new path will be his. His pregnant fifteen-year-old daughter Angel shows up on his door and, in a brilliant twist of the old hero's journey, becomes his mentor, the one who ultimately leads him to a true understanding of redemption. Mistakes are made again, and again, and again, and the deep wounds that only those who know us most intimately can deliver are inflicted; forgiveness seems impossible, but these characters are complicated and the mysteries of the world are more so. Best of all, you are in the hands of a masterful writer who understands that there is magic in us. Achingly painful and transcendent, you will not leave Las Penas unchanged. 

— Linda


From an award-winning storyteller comes a stunning debut novel following a New Mexican family’s extraordinary year of love and sacrifice.

It’s Holy Week in the small town of Las Penas, New Mexico, and thirty-three-year-old unemployed Amadeo Padilla has been given the part of Jesus in the Good Friday procession. He is preparing feverishly for this role when his fifteen-year-old daughter Angel shows up pregnant on his doorstep and disrupts his plans. Their reunion sets her own life down a startling path.

Vivid, tender, darkly funny, and beautifully rendered, The Five Wounds spans the baby’s first year as five generations of the Padilla family converge: Amadeo’s mother, Yolanda, reeling from a recent discovery; Angel’s mother, whom Angel isn’t speaking to; and disapproving Tío Tíve, keeper of the family’s history. In the absorbing, realist tradition of Elizabeth Strout and Jonathan Franzen, Kirstin Valdez Quade conjures characters that will linger long after the final page, bringing to life their struggles to parent children they may not be equipped to save.

About the Author

Kirstin Valdez Quade is the author of Night at the Fiestas, winner of the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize. The recipient of a “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation, she teaches at Princeton University.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393242836
ISBN-10: 0393242838
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: April 6th, 2021
Pages: 448