Barefoot Dogs: Stories
by Antonio Ruiz-Camacho
Scribner, 2015. 146 pages. Fiction.
Mexico City at the start of the new millennium was one of the most colorful and exciting cities in the world. It was also one of the most violent. Kidnappings were common and the kidnapping of José Victoriano Arteaga, patriarch of a well-connected family in the city is the center point of the stories penned by Ruiz-Camacho. In each one, the reader sees the fear and uncertainty of different family members as they struggle with their new status - refugees from the violence that claimed father and grandfather - and seek to find peace in a world that greed and hate have shattered.
This book may be short, but it packs a powerful punch. The stories are both deeply moving and deeply disturbing, contrasting love and hate, fear and power in poignant ways. Ruiz-Camacho is especially adept at using the naivete of children in the stories to counteract the fear of the adults who surround them. This is a masterpiece of storytelling and brings an intimate voice to a powerfully distressing aspect of Mexican society.