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Velorio—meaning “wake”—is a story of strength, resilience, and hope; a tale of peril and possibility buoyed by the deeply held belief in a people’s ability to unite against those corrupted by power.
Camila is haunted by the death of her sister, Marisol, who was caught by a mudslide during the huracán. Unable to part with Marisol, Camila carries her through town, past the churchyard, and, eventually, to the supposed utopia of Memoria.
Urayoán, the idealistic, yet troubled cult leader of Memoria, has a vision for this new society, one that in his eyes is peaceful and democratic. The paradise he preaches lures in the young, including Bayfish, a boy on the cusp of manhood, and Morivivi, a woman whose outward toughness belies an inner tenderness for her friends. But as the different members of Memoria navigate Urayoán’s fiery rise, they will need to confront his violent authoritarian impulses in order to find a way to reclaim their home.
Xavier Navarro Aquino was born and raised in Puerto Rico. His fiction has appeared in Tin House, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, and Guernica. He has been awarded scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, a MacDowell Fellowship, and an ACLS Emerging Voices Fellowship at Dartmouth College. Aquino is currently an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame where he teaches in the MFA program.
Victor LaValle is the author of the short story collection Slapboxing with Jesus, four novels, The Ecstatic, Big Machine, The Devil in Silver, and The Changeling and two novellas, Lucretia and the Kroons and The Ballad of Black Tom. He is also the creator and writer of two comic books: Destroyer and Eve. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the World Fantasy Award, British Fantasy Award, Bram Stoker Award, Whiting Writers' Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, Shirley Jackson Award, American Book Award, and the key to Southeast Queens.