First published in 2003 by Northwestern University Press’s Latino Voices imprint, Manuel Muñoz's debut collection established him as an important chronicler of California's Central Valley. His stories documented the queer lives of characters struggling to maintain hope and independence in the face of the region’s isolation. While scarcely reviewed by any media, Zigzagger received a full-page laudatory review from David Ebershoff in the February 1, 2004, edition of the Los Angeles Times, which helped bring the collection to the attention of many readers.
From the title story to “Good as Yesterday,” Zigzagger contains some of Muñoz’s most anthologized work. “Skyshot,” which was selected as part of Selected Shorts at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, was broadcast on National Public Radio in 2004. Other work was first published in Epoch, Massachusetts Review, and Boston Review.
“Muñoz’s Central Valley is a part of California — a part of America — that has yet to see many liberations: gay, women’s, or economic liberation from restrictions imposed for so long on people with brown skin. If his vision is full of despair, so is the reality that his characters must endure; he is much too truthful
a writer to present false hope. Zigzagger is a book to read if you want to see
another California, one that might be unfamiliar but is home to millions. It heralds the arrival of a gifted and sensitive writer.”
—David Ebershoff, Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Muñoz’s Zigzagger is not merely a contribution to Latina/o letters, but a major breakthrough. Stunning in voice, lyrical in language, forceful in subject matter, the stories in this debut collection explode with powerful storytelling.
Zigzagger will forever change the way we think of desire
and the lonely roads one travels to get there.”
—Helena María Viramontes
“Sweet, moody, sexy, cruel. Stories told with such tenderness,
they leave you with your heart aching.”
“One of the delights of fiction is its ability to take us to places we had never imagined. Manuel Muñoz writes with lightning in his pen, and he has taken us deep into the heart of a troubling, blessed place. Eerie and erotic, mysterious and true, Zigzagger puts Muñoz head and shoulders above much of what
passes as ‘Latino fiction’ today. Highly recommended.”
—Luis Alberto Urrea