The Family Izquierdo: A Novel
A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Book of 2022
A masterful debut that weaves together the lives of three generations of a Mexican American family bound by love, and a curse.
The tight-knit Izquierdo family is grappling with misfortunes none of them can explain. Their beloved patriarch has suffered from an emotional collapse and is dying; eldest son Gonzalo’s marriage is falling apart; daughter Dina, beleaguered by the fear that her nightmares are real, is a shut-in. When Gonzalo digs up a strange object in the backyard of the family home, the Izquierdos take it as proof that a jealous neighbor has cursed them—could this be the reason for all their troubles? As the Izquierdos face a distressing present and an uncertain future, they are sustained by the blood that binds them, a divine presence, and an abiding love for one another. Told in a series of soulful voices brimming with warmth and humor, The Family Izquierdo is a tender narrative of a family at a turning point.
Praise for The Family Izquierdo: A Novel
A novel of Tejano plenty blooming among the literary plains of desolation... polyphonic, mixing across borders, expanding with a musicality that only strengthens as it grows.
— Kawai Strong Washburn - New York Times Book Review
This family saga is at its core an exploration of love, forgiveness, loss and faith.
— Lupita Aquino - TODAY.com
The novel is constructed as interlinked stories… and each story is powerful and indelible, self-contained yet inescapably part of a whole – like the Izquierdos themselves. Reading this beautiful debut felt like coming home.
— Katie Gutierrez - Good Morning America.com
[An] epic tale… There are trials, yes, but also plenty of love and miracles in this beautiful chronicle of family.
— Austin American-Statesman
Resonant… Peppered with Spanish terms, The Family Izquierdo is a rich intertextual novel that’s embedded within Mexican festivals and traditions. It is a testament to the importance of family and the influence of religion, as well as a poignant tale about personal hopes and dreams.
— Foreword Reviews
An intimate, multigenerational narrative of a Mexican family, The Family Izquierdo shines in its depiction of South Texas and how the region has shaped Latinos over time.
— Texas Monthly
The Family Izquierdo is filled with the rich complexities of Latinx culture… [Degollado] captures the way people in all families have different versions of the same tale. How we sit around sharing cuentos, whispering chisme, and keeping family histories alive — even if that history is sometimes embellished.
— High Country News
Rubén Degollado has written an open-hearted work of witness, love, and triumph. We have come far. And this brave novel reminds us of where we have to go. Anyone with a family will find themselves in these pages.
— Luis Alberto Urrea
In The Family Izquierdo, every story is a revelation. Rubén Degollado’s storytelling is as rigorous as it is intricate. Intimate and epic, it brims with magic and spirit. A bold, beautiful debut!
— Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies
With a delicate and perceptive understanding of humanity and the ties which bind community to history, Rubén Degollado has painted a portrait of sincere love in The Family Izquierdo. This book feels like coming home to a warm embrace, where the characters and land leap off the page and into our hearts.
— Kali Fajardo-Anstine, author of Woman of Light
Vivid…. Degollado convincingly portrays the family’s mix of faith, superstition, and intergenerational volatility, and immerses the reader into a porous blend of English and Spanish. This is a gem.
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
In this gloriously rich epic, we get to see a full picture of the family. Each interlocking chapter is told by a different character, unifying into a thoughtfully crafted history spanning decades. The characters, who are complex and tightly linked to one another, are enlivened by their belief in a mix of superstition, brujería, and Catholicism that feels both familiar and playful…. An instant Tejano classic.
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)