Malas: Author Marcela Fuentes in conversation with Rachel Wright
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The Georgia Center for the Book

Malas: Author Marcela Fuentes in conversation with Rachel Wright

  • Doors: 6:30 pm
  • Start Time: 7:00 pm
  • End Time: 8:00 pm
  • Age Restriction:  All Ages

About the Event

Join the Georgia Center for the Book for an evening with debut author Marcela Fuentes. Her novel Malas is a multigenerational saga following the story of one family living on the Texas-Mexico border. Alternating between the 1950s and 1990s, Malas is a vibrant portrait of two fierce women, separated by decades, but both determined to thwart fate and escape the confines of their lives. She'll be in conversation with Atlanta writer Rachel Wright. Registration requested. Charis Book and More will be our bookseller for the evening, and you may preorder the book from them here.


This event will be in the Decatur Library Auditorium. Please enter through the Ground Floor, rear doors. Doors and elevators open at 6:30.


About the Book:


Marcela Fuentes’s debut novel, Malas, is a multigenerational saga following the story of one family living on the Texas-Mexico border. Alternating between the 1950s and 1990s, Malas is a vibrant portrait of two fierce women, separated by decades, but both determined to thwart fate and escape the confines of their lives. On the Texas-Mexico border in 1951, Pilar Aguierre is pregnant with her second child when an old woman accuses her of stealing her husband and lays a curse on Pilar’s family. Although assured by her friends and family that this woman’s words hold no weight, Pilar is unconvinced, and senses tragedy looming. Fast forward to 1996, Lulu Muñoz is dodging chaos at every turn: her troubled father’s moods, his rules, her secret life as a singer in a punk band, but most of all her upcoming quinceañera. When her beloved grandmother passes away, Lulu finds herself drawn to the glamorous stranger who crashed the funeral and who lives alone and shunned on the edge of town. Their unexpected kinship picks at the secrets of Lulu’s family’s past. As the quinceañera looms—and we move between these two strong, irascible female voices—one woman must make peace with the past, and one girl pushes to embrace her future.


Though the border town in Malas is fictitious, its landscape rings true, and Marcela Fuentes herself grew up along the border. The same rodeos and Selena concerts that colored her childhood appear in the draperies of her debut. Rich with cinematic details—from dusty rodeos to the excitement of a Selena concert and the comfort of conjunto ballads played at family gatherings—this memorable debut is a love letter to the Tejano culture and community that sustain both of these women as they discover what family means.


About the Author:


Marcela Fuentes is a Pushcart Prize-winning fiction writer and essayist. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and was the 2016-2017 James C. McCreight Fiction Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in the Indiana Review, The Rumpus, Texas Highways Magazine, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and other journals. Her debut novel Malas (June 2024) and linked story collection MY HEART HAS MORE ROOMS THAN A WHOREHOUSE are forthcoming from Viking Books. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas.


About the Moderator:


Rachel Wright is a writer and editor based in Atlanta, Georgia. She has a master's degree from University College Dublin and a doctorate from Georgia State University, both in creative writing. Her writing has appeared in The Stinging Fly, ArtsATL, and elsewhere.


Praise for Malas:


“Fuentes is a seamless storyteller: the narrative is rich in Mexican culture and fully realized characterizations, especially the defiant Lulu and the overbearing Julio. Fans of Ana Castillo and Erika Sanchez will be thrilled.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)


“An entrancing debut novel…A vibrant portrait of two strong women and their mixed feelings about home.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


“The bad-ass women in Fuentes’ debut novel swagger and stagger through alternating timelines that wrap around and wring each other out like wet laundry in a Tejana’s (Texan woman’s) strong hands…Both strong women prevail through the power of comadrazgo (sisterhood) in this triumphant novel that lyrically portrays the costumbres (customs) of a border culture starkly different from the one seen on today’s news.”
Booklist (starred review)


Malas is a machete: sharp, terrifying, and beautiful. Through precise and shimmering prose, Fuentes shows us the myriad ways trauma perpetuates itself in the lives of Brown girls and women. I gasped, laughed, and held my breath. Each character feels dynamic, familiar, and so utterly human in their glorious messiness. Fuentes has achieved something rare and indelible with this story of complex women.” —Erika L. Sanchez, New York Times bestselling author of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter


Find Malas on the following lists:


Amazon Best Books of June 2024
The Washington Post
“10 Noteworthy Books for June”
PEOPLE’S
“Best Books of June 2024”
June pick for the 2024 Good Morning America Book Club

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