Everything Begins & Ends at the Kentucky Club

By Benjamin Alire Sáenz



Five To-Be-Read Piles =

Add This One to Your To-Be-Read Pile!


Reviewer: Liz Merton


Winner of the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, Kentucky Club is another stay-with-you-long-after-you-finish-it book. Cinco Puntos Press out of El Paso produces a lot of great work (check out my review of the 2020 International Thriller Writers Thriller Awards Finalist The Bird Boys from Cinco Puntos). In Kentucky Club, we get seven short stories, stories that take us to Juárez and beyond, break our hearts when we lose a lover to urban violence, and leave us empty with the thought of chasing the dragon . . . in all its forms. The pages glow with curt prose, with abuse in so many forms, with dreams (broken, lost, failed, found, waiting), and (of course) with Avenida Benito Juárez’s Kentucky Club, a place where dreams like that—we’re told so well—begin and end.


The Kentucky Club may (or may not) be the birthplace of the margarita. According to Sáenz, it gives people a good place to go to remember and to forget, as discussed in a TexasMonthly piece from 2013 that offers some thoughts worth considering . . . on Ciudad Juárez, violence, poetry, and faith. Sáenz’s website likewise deserves a look for those interested in his projects and the topics his writing explores. Once a priest inspired by activists like Dorothy Day, Sáenz seems to have led a lot of lives, lives that have given him experiences, a certain sagacity if that's not weird to say, that he also seems to have translated onto the pages of his work . . . to the benefit of anyone interested in the human experience.

Read Local, L.L.C., is a small (we hope to grow!) community of book lovers. We review books published by independent/university/small presses and post our reviews and thoughts in an effort to raise awareness of independent-press books. The Read Local, L.L.C., entity is owned by the parent company of Stoneman House Press, L.L.C., and that publisher's work appears on this website (we make money when Stoneman House sells books), but not everyone who writes content for us or participates in our community works for Stoneman House. Aside from Stoneman House, we also have relationships (personal and/or professional) with some of the authors whose books appear here. Some (like Sage Webb) write reviews for us and help lead us (and they make money when their books sell). We note when we have a relationship with a book, publisher, or author. Otherwise, we do not have relationships with the authors and publishers listed here. They appear here only because we liked their books and we like reviewing books. (We will be as transparent as possible when we post here about things in which we have a financial stake. Not just because of regulations like those in Part 255 of Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations, but because we really are here just to have some literary fun.) If you are an author or publisher of a book that appears here, feel free to reach out to us! We'd love to hear from you. We are at readlocalbooks@hotmail.com. And if you are an author or publisher and you would like us to remove your book from our site, just let us know. We are here to serve the literary community. If you have questions, reach out.

(We also love innovative art and photography. Just sayin'.)

© 2018, 2019 , 2020 Read Local, L.L.C.

(All content on this site belongs exclusively to Read Local, L.L.C. No one may copy any portion of this site or its content without express written permission.)

Read Local is a registered service mark with the USPTO.

Read Local, L.L.C., reserves all rights in and to its marks.