Each of stories in Night at the Fiestas are about family members embroiled in complicated, ambivalent relationships.
Maria both admires and despises her cousin, Nemecia, in the story called "Nemecia."
After leaving her first husband who was rich yet abusive, Monica of "Mojave Rats," marries an impoverished geology graduate student. Monica gives an expensive dress away to one of the children in the trailer park yet her past still lingers.
In "Five Wounds," a father who will soon play Jesus is embarrassed of his daughter who is unmarried and pregnant. The daughter in "Night at the Fiestas" is embarrassed of her hard-working yet unsophisticated father.
Perhaps the ultimate embarrassing father is Victor of "The Guesthouse." After shirking his duties to his children, he wants to live in their guesthouse with his snake and rats.
Kirstin Valdez Quade is a writer to watch. She won the 2014 National Book Award "5 Under 35" award.