Kathleen Alcalá

Spirits of the Ordinary

Spirits of the Ordinary, Kathleen's first novel, received the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award in 1998. Spirits tells the tale of Zacarias, estranged from his family and his Crypto-Jewish roots, as he seeks his fortune in the deserts of Northern Mexico. His wife, Estela, and his parents, Julio and Mariana, each see something entirely different in his journey. It has been described by Larry McMurtry as "continually arresting--a book in which passions both ordinary and extraordinary are made vivid and convincing." (Chronicle Books, 1997, Harvest Books, 1998)

Kathleen and director Olga Sanchez adapted Spirits of the Ordinary for the stage, and it was produced by The Miracle Theatre of Portland, Oregon in the spring of 2003.

Kathleen's novels have also been translated into Spanish and Dutch.

Selected Works

Creative nonfiction, memoir, environmental sustainability.
Combining memoir, historical records, and a blueprint for sustainability, The Deepest Roots shows us how an island population can mature into responsible food stewards and reminds us that innovation, adaptation, diversity, and common sense will help us make wise decisions about our future. And along the way, we learn how food is intertwined with our present but offers a path to a better understanding of the future.
Creative Nonfiction
Essays on Family and Writing

The Desert Remembers My Name makes an important contribution to discussions of ethnicity, identity, and the literature of place.”
Bloomsbury Review
"...a mesmerizing tale... the author explores the fascinating confusions and contradictions plaguing a culture precariously poised between tradition and modernization."
"She never forgot the power of storytelling as testimony."
The Utne Reader
"Kathleen Alcalá's Spirits of the Ordinary is an enthralling book..."
–Paul Yamazaki, City Lights Books

"This book entered my dreams."
–Alberto Rios
Short Fiction
"Thoroughly satisfying."
The New York Times Book Review

"By turns touching, entertaining, and surprising, and uniquely her own."
Publishers Weekly

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