“Lean and beautifully rendered…..profound and wrenching….affecting….a deeply moving chronicle of one family’s collective devastation, full of remarkable wisdom and humor, yet unflinching in its portrayal of the horrors sweeping contemporary Mexico….Ruiz-Camacho takes class distinctions head-on, with characters clear and unashamed of their social position and the advantages—and disadvantages—it brings….Ruiz-Camacho’s prose is muscular and evocative. He revels in intimately observed moments and sharp but nuanced characterizations.”

The New York Times Book Review

“A family drama signifying a national crisis. Ruiz-Camacho writes in a colloquial, loosely assembled realistic fashion, so that the devastating effect of the kidnapping builds slowly, but irrevocably, producing a portrait of several generations of a family suffering at the whims of criminals whom we never see….Taken together, these stories have a kind of staying power unusual in a first book.”

—Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered, NPR

“Ruiz-Camacho gives each minor tragedy its due, exploring the quiet cacophony of grief with the hyper-articulated rawness of someone who has been writing in English for less than a decade. The sense of newness in the language can be illuminating. The stories in this collection similarly alternate between bruising and soaring.”

—Chicago Tribune

“These powerful stories are worthy of rereading in order to fully digest the far-reaching implications of one man’s disappearance. Taken altogether, 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

“[Ruiz-Camacho] captures a range of voices and personalities….In deft and luminous adopted English, Ruiz-Camacho makes us feel their pain.”

Dallas Morning News

"A straight-on jab to the soul, the kind of sharp fictional punch that wakes us up to our own flawed, fragile, essential humanity. With this debut collection, Antonio Ruiz-Camacho shows he's already a writer of the first rank, one of those rare storytellers who leaves you wanting more even as he breaks your heart."

– Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

“The brilliantly gifted Ruiz-Camacho, writing in English about the members of a Mexican family forced to flee their country, brings the terror, sadness, tenderness and intimacy as well as the class absurdities of contemporary Mexican life into that most traditional of American forms, the realist short story. His mastery will impress and astonish, open your eyes, but most of all, each one of these stories will unforgettably touch your heart and move you.”

– Francisco Goldman, author of Say Her Name and The Interior Circuit: A Mexico City Chronicle

"[A] revelatory glimpse of the human costs of the Mexican drug war....The language of these stories is wonderful, at times recalling Roberto Bolaño and at other times Alice Munro....‘Origami Prunes’ a

near masterpiece....This is the power of the short story: a window opens for a moment, then shuts. One can imagine these stories going on forever, each one adding a bit more clarity to the incomprehensible

contemporary world we live in."

—World Literature Today

“Timely and timeless, full of ambiguity, dislocation and startlingly vivid images that are perfectly suited to the book’s overall tone.”

—Austin American-Statesman

“Every story in this collection has an unexpected poignancy as the characters try to create a new normal in strange, unfamiliar cities. Ruiz-Camacho takes the true stories from his journalistic life and repurposes them as stories told in a classic mode, where compelling characters hold on by a finger-grip to a hope that can make sacrifice and risk worth their survival.”

—San Antonio Express News

“With deftness and nuance, Ruiz-Camacho…captures the flawed but fascinating humanity of the extended Arteaga family….brilliantly establishes the exact mix of entitlement and innocence that characterizes the family….Readers receive a gift as rare as it is unnerving: a chance to enter imaginatively into a world of personal tragedy through portals other than pathos. Despite their myopia and unreckoned privilege, the wealthy wanderers of Barefoot Dogs never become objects of scorn or pity. And this is perhaps the most powerful testament to Ruiz-Camacho’s powers.”

—The Texas Observer

“Ruiz-Camacho deftly makes the heartbreak of [the Arteagas’] displacement, confusion, and grief a thing of painful beauty….in the days and weeks ahead, I’ll still be thinking about this fine book and the mesmerizing talent of Antonio Ruiz-Camacho.”

—Austin Chronicle


—Oxford American

“In an assured debut, Ruiz-Camacho inhabits the minds of Arteaga’s extended family, as well as his mistress and the more peripheral characters of his life... Experiencing the ways in which various family members cope–or fail to–with their new reality makes for gripping, somber reading.”

Publishers Weekly

“Ruiz-Camacho shows a wealth of talent in this fiction debut...outstanding...funny...A nimble debut that demonstrates not a singular narrative voice but a realistic chorus of them.”

Kirkus Reviews

“A relatable experience of dealing with unexpected tragedy....An extremely promising debut.”


“These stories are fresh, funny and full of life. What makes them so memorable is the universal connection we all have to home, that at some point in our lives, all we want is to be back there. For many of us that is a given, and for others, it is an impossibility – a crushing reality that Ruiz-Camacho executes flawlessly.”


“We got completely caught up in Barefoot Dogs...


"Bravura, brilliant, moving, hilarious--it's both clear-eyed and dreamy, strange and beautiful, stories for our time, and also for all-time. That it's his first book is a wonder, and a wonderful promise."

– Elizabeth McCracken, author of The Giant's House and Thunderstruck And Other Stories

"A marvelous and moving story collection; a brilliant and devastating portrait of a traumatized Mexican upper-class, waking up in horror to the reality of the country they once owned. A tour de force."

– Daniel Alarcón, author of At Night We Walk in Circles

“In the world of today no calamity stays local, no tragedy private. Someone missing at a street corner leaves unhealed scars in other countries, among different generations. It is with this keen sense of intersection between personal and impersonal history that Ruiz-Camacho approaches his characters–his scrutiny of them, his empathy for them, and his versatile voice reminding us of Grace Paley, among other masters of the short story.”

– Yiyun Li, author of The Vagrants and Kinder Than Solitude

“Ruiz-Camacho springs out of the gate with an assured, beautiful collection of stories. Several spots made me stop and go back to them. And not a few others made me burn with envy. Great stuff.”

– Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil’s Highway and The Hummingbird’s Daughter