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Debut Novel

The Truth Bordering Fiction

An afternoon with Oscar Casares

Casares says that portraying this setting at the facility was the most difficult aspect of the writing because, while researching the book in October 2004, fiction collided with life: his 90-year-old father broke his hip and spent the next three years in two such places. “In most cases, when you're writing a piece of fiction, you're lucky enough to have that distance, that perspective to look back and understand what it means, but I didn’t have that,” says Casares. “I was living it as I was writing.”

As the interview wraps up, Casares mentions his plans to sell his new book—as he did Brownsville—at the H-E-B grocery store chain. The dearth of bookstores in Brownsville and South Texas, combined with his need to personally connect with the community, fueled his upcoming “mini-H-E-B tour,” as he calls it. In a handful of cities, fans can hear him read at local bookstores and attend book signings at the local grocery. “I wanted to take the stories to the people, as opposed to having people go find the stories in a bookstore,” he says.

And bringing his poignant story of aging to the people may help them come to terms with their own. 

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