Madewell Brown walked into the village on a hot, dry day in 1946. A solitary black man with one arm longer than the other, he had never found a place for himself. Never, that is, until he had painted his own history on the interior walls of his adobe house in Guadalupe.
Fifty years later, Will Sawyer’s truck runs out of gas, and as he walks that same long road back into town he knows it’s best to keep his eyes on the ground. But he doesn’t understand the town’s long history of displacement or the difficulty of truly fitting in there, until he hears the story of the dead girl found hanging from Las Manos Bridge.
In Perdido, Collignon returns to the same magical town he first introduced in The Journal of Antonio Montoya. Once again mixing present and past, living and dead, he delivers a forthright and unflinching examination of race, belonging, and identity. With this novel, Collignon shows that a powerful new voice in American fiction has arrived.
16.00 | P.O.D. Sold by the carton only - Non Returnable Order | 5 x 8 | 232 pages
ISBN: 978-1-60953-028-0 | Carton Quantity: 50
After the café closed that day, Felix cleaned the kitchen and wiped the tables. Then he walked up the hill to the house where Madewell had lived. The sun had set and Felix could feel his shirt, which was moist from the heat in the kitchen, cool against his back. He looked at the house and thought it already felt empty. Felix pushed the door open and stepped inside.
The mud plaster on the walls inside had been painted white, and over that were drawn so many pictures that for a second Felix felt as though the room were crowded. He shut his eyes, and a soft wave of dizziness washed over him. When he opened them again, he began to turn slowly in a circle. All about him were thousands of paintings. They ran from one wall to the other, even across the surface of the door and above the archway that led into another room. They were painted in black, red, yellow, green, and in colors Felix had never seen. In each painting were six children, and from one wall to the next they aged, and as there were so many of these paintings, they seemed to grow old together by the moment.
They were drawn at birth, Telesfor said, lying closely together under one blanket. Their faces were clear and smooth, their eyes wide and surprised. Above them was a black sky with stars and a yellow moon. Felix watched them begin to crawl and then walk clumsily, falling into each other. He saw them in trees and in dry arroyos and in groves of scrub oak, always together, and in aboat on a river that flowed flat and was only water. He saw them kiss each other and wrestle in the dirt and throw rocks at cows and start fires that grew too big. He watched them asleep at dawn and in the rain and in snow without coats or shoes. And at the end, with age, the six of them sat looking out at the person who had drawn them. Felix saw that in this house Madewell Brown had raised his family and that when he left, he left them behind.
It took Telesfor Ruiz a long time to tell this story to Will. By the end, the night had grown dark and Telesfor’s voice sounded like air. Will asked him if he had ever seen the paintings and where in Guadalupe this house was. Telesfor answered that he had seen them just once, but he had never gone back because the sight of them alone in the house made him too sad. He told Will that the house Madewell Brown had lived in was no longer standing. A few years after Madewell left, Horacio Medina bought the land for back taxes. Not long after that, he sold it to the mine, which tore the house down. All that remained now were some old fenceposts and broken glass and pieces of adobe with paint.