The Five Wounds

The Five Wounds
Genre : Fiction
Published : 1 Jul 2021 - Serpent's Tail
It's Holy Week in the town of Las Penas, New Mexico, and thirty-three-year-old unemployed Amadeo Padilla is to play Jesus in the Good Friday procession. He is preparing feverishly for this role when his fifteen-year-old daughter Angel shows up pregnant on his doorstep.
Vivid, darkly funny, and beautifully rendered, THE FIVE WOUNDS spans the baby's first year as five generations of the Padilla family converge: Amadeo's mother, Yolanda, reeling from a recent discovery; Angel's mother, whom Angel isn't speaking to; and Tío Tíve, keeper of the family's history. In the absorbing, realist tradition of Elizabeth Strout and Jonathan Franzen, Kirstin Valdez Quade brings to life the struggles of her characters to parent children they may not be equipped to save.


The characters in this engrossing novel are created in luminous and memorable detail. Just as the pacing is perfect, so too are the tact and care with which each scene is made. Kirstin Valdez Quade, by concentrating on the truth of small moments, has brought a whole world into focus.

Colm Tóibín

Kirstin Valdez Quade writes with exquisite precision about the fragility and resilience of the Amadeo family. Valdez Quade is attentive to both the trembling shadows and epic crescendos of her characters' shared and private lives. I loved THE FIVE WOUNDS, which reminded me that growing pains are not confined to adolescence, and that people can be newborn at any age. Even its most excruciating moments are charged with a luminous, pitiless compassion.

Karen Russell

THE FIVE WOUNDS is brilliant! The story is bountiful and so incredibly well crafted-a beautiful braid of the life-cycle within a family. It captures both the strength and fragility of relationships and existence and the resilience and great power of love and belief. It is a novel about faith in the largest sense of the word. Each page is packed with detail and the most beautiful language-and images and characters that will remain part of our lives.

A. M. Homes

…[we are] entertained, moved, dazzled by the vibrancy of Kirstin Valdez Quade’s writing.

Sainsbury’s Magazine

You are utterly within these characters, and within their world … a propulsive, immersive story that reckons wisely with the real cost of redemption.