Manuel Muñoz’s stories move beyond traditional themes of Chicano literature to explore conflicts of family, memory, longing, and loss. In the lonely rural towns of California’s Central Valley, his characters struggle to maintain hope and independence in the face of isolation. In the title story, a teenager learns the consequences of succumbing to the lure of a stranger; in another, a young farmworker attempts to hide his supervision of a huddle of children from the police. Bighearted and exquisitely detailed, Zigzagger is an auspicious debut by a young author of uncommon maturity and narrative powers.
His work has appeared in Swink, Epoch, Massachusetts Review, Glimmer Train Stories, Boston Review, and many other journals, and is forthcoming in Rush Hour. “Skyshot,” a story from Zigzagger, was part of Selected Shorts at the Getty Center in Los Angeles and was broadcast on National Public Radio in 2004. “The Comeuppance of Lupe Rivera,” a new short story, was performed at WordTheater in Los Angeles, and will be broadcast on NPR in 2005.
Born and raised in Dinuba, California, Manuel Muñoz graduated from Harvard University and received his MFA in creative writing from Cornell University. He lives in New York City, where he works in the managing editorial department of Warner Books.