Veronica Gonzalez Peña

Veronica Gonzalez Pena is the author of twin time: or, how death befell me, which won the Premio Aztlán Literary Prize in 2007. She is also the founder of rockypoint Press, which produces a series of artist-writer collaborations.

  • The Sad Passions

    The Sad Passions

    Veronica Gonzalez Peña

    The lyrical story of a Mexican family torn apart by the fragility and madness of one of its members.

    Told by six women in one family, Veronica Gonzalez Pena's The Sad Passions captures the alertness, beauty, and terror of childhood lived in proximity to madness. Set against the backdrop of a colonial past, spanning three generations, and shuttling from Mexico City to Oaxaca to the North Fork of Long Island to Veracruz, The Sad Passions is the lyrical story of a middle-class Mexican family torn apart by the undiagnosed mental illness of Claudia, a lost child of the 1960s and the mother of four little girls.

    It is 1960, and the wild and impulsive sixteen-year-old Claudia elopes from her comfortable family home in Mexico City with Miguel, a seductive drifter who will remain her wandering husband for the next twenty years. Hitchhiking across the United States with Miguel, sometimes spending the night in jails, Claudia stops sleeping and begins seeing visions. Abandoned at a small clinic in Texas, she receives electroshock treatment while seven months pregnant with her first daughter. Afterward, Miguel leaves her, dumb and drooling, at her mother's doorstep.

    Living more often at her mother's home than with Miguel, Claudia will give birth to four girls. But when Julia, her second daughter, is inexplicably given away to a distant relation in Los Angeles, Claudia's fragile, uncertain state comes to affect everyone around her. Julia's disappearance—which could symbolize the destabilizing effect of manic depression—will become the organizing myth in all of the daughters' unsettled lives; for if one can disappear, why not all of them?

    • Paperback $17.95 £14.99
  • twin time

    twin time

    or, how death befell me

    Veronica Gonzalez Peña

    A young woman's fabulist search for her long-lost twin brother overturns all notions of motherhood, magic realism, and miscegenation.

    ... as I poured my father's ashes into a big Ziploc bag, a little of my blood dripped in. I thought about how each cell has all of you fully inscribed in it, so that if I left those drops in there, it would be as if I were already dead too. I plunged in then, to try and get myself out, but it was all so sticky that I had to give up; when I pulled out my hand, parts of my father were stuck all over it...—from Twin Time Witty, sarcastic, and sensuous, Twin Time: or, how death befell me tells the story of Mona, who, upon her father's death in Los Angeles, decides to set off in search of her long-lost twin brother, given away as an infant. With her father's ashes as a guide of dubious reliability, Mona embarks upon a quest that takes her into a forest where she's confronted by—among other beings—a band of Nordic men, her Chinese doppelganger, a lascivious giant, and a pack of feral children. Along the way Mona recounts her parents' past as she imagines it, a romantic tale of love and rescue set in a fabulist, idealized Mexico—a dreamy place that only vaguely resembles the harsh quotidian realities of the 1960s Mexico City her parents inhabited. When Mona finds her brother at last, she learns that he grew up in London with their mother—who had supposedly (or so Mona had been told) died in childbirth—and her parents' story is thrown into further disarray. By the end of the journey, all Mona's received ideas of home, motherhood, magic realism, and miscegenation have been overturned.

    Veronica Gonzalez is the coeditor of Juncture: 25 Very Good Stories and 12 Excellent Drawings and the founder of rockypoint Press, a series of artist-writer collaborations produced in association with 1301PE Gallery. Twin Time is her first novel.

    • Paperback $14.95 £11.99