‘The Day Before New Year’s Eve, Manzanillo, Mexico’ by Austin Sanchez-Moran

In this story, the narrator recounts a journey home from a restaurant with his family. They spot a gathering by the side of the road, where some other families are playing music and dancing beside a life-sized nativity scene. The narrator’s mother gets out of their car and joins the revellers, who are celebrating the new year early. The narrator and his father follow, and they dance for a while on a ledge of land that overlooks the town and the ocean. That’s it. A simple vignette. And yet, and yet. First person narration in the past tense creates, without lengthy Proustian discourse, a subtle, delicate veil of nostalgia over the events. The wholesomeness of the scene is striking too for how rare it is in fiction of this type, which generally tends towards some moment of unsettling, or reflected poignancy or humour. This is just a moment of communion, of winter warmth in the desert.

(Published in the Denver Quareterly 50.4)