cover image There Is a Rio Grande in Heaven

There Is a Rio Grande in Heaven

Ruben Reyes Jr. Mariner, $28 (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-333627-8

Reyes debuts with a scintillating collection of stories in which Salvadoran characters reckon with new technologies and the evils of capitalism. The wry opener, “He Eats His Own,” follows a finance broker in Los Angeles who pays his relatives in San Salvador to grow and ship mangoes for him to eat, even as their work puts them in the crosshairs of gang violence­. In the pitch perfect “Try Again,” a bisexual Salvadoran American man pays a biotech company to transplant his late father’s brain tissue into a robot. After being rejected by his father because of his sexuality, he finally finds the acceptance he craved via the AI-powered robot. In “Self-Made Man,” one of the more devastating entries, a researcher uncovers a secret U.S. government program to create manual laborers from the reanimated corpses of undocumented Central Americans. The volume is shot through with genuine pathos and astute social commentary, and Reyes shifts effortlessly from absurdism to satire to sci-fi. These dynamic tales herald the arrival of a promising new talent. Agent: Aemilia Phillips, Stuart Krichevsky Literary. (Aug.)