“Profound and wrenching…A deeply moving chronicle of one family’s collective devastation, full of remarkable wisdom and humor” (The New York Times Book Review) that follows the members of a wealthy Mexican family after their patriarch is kidnapped.
On an unremarkable night, José Victoriano Arteaga—the head of a thriving Mexico City family—vanishes on his way home from work. The Arteagas find few answers; the full truth of what happened to Arteaga is lost to the shadows of Mexico’s vast underworld. But soon packages arrive to the family house, offering horrifying clues.
Fear, guilt, and the prospect of financial ruin fracture the once-proud family and scatter them across the globe, yet delicate threads still hold them together: in a swimming pool in Palo Alto, Arteaga’s grandson struggles to make sense of the grief that has hobbled his family; in Mexico City, Arteaga’s mistress alternates between rage and heartbreak as she waits, in growing panic, for her lover’s return; in Austin, the Arteagas’ housekeeper tries to piece together a second life in an alienating new land; in Madrid, Arteaga’s son takes his dog through the hot and unforgiving streets, in search of his father’s ghost.
A stunningly original exploration of the wages of a hidden war, Barefoot Dogs is a heartfelt elegy to the stolen innocence of every family struck by tragedy. Urgent and vital fiction, “these powerful stories are worthy of rereading in order to fully digest the far-reaching implications of one man’s disappearance…this singular book affords the reader the chance to step inside a world of privilege and loss, and understand how the two are inextricably intertwined” (San Francisco Chronicle).
Reading Group Guide
On a day like any other, José Victoriano Arteaga—the patriarch of a large, well-to-do Mexican family—disappears on his way home from work and is never heard from again. When strange boxes begin to arrive at the family home, his children are forced to flee. They scatter across the globe leaving almost everything behind while clinging desperately to their memories of a different time and place. The lives of the “domestics” employed by the family are also turned upside down now that they have lost their jobs and their home as a consequence of the family’s exile. Arteaga’s mistress must come to terms with her lover’s disappearance while struggling with the day-to-day challenges of raising the child who haunts her with his uncanny resemblance to his missing father—and his insistence that he has seen him. In their places of exile—both physical and emotional—each character struggles to adapt and to come to terms with the tragedy that has befallen them and changed their life forever. With courage, candor, an see more