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Journal of Antonio Montoya Hardcover – May 22, 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 271 pages
  • Publisher: MacAdam/Cage; 1st edition (May 22, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1878448692
  • ISBN-13: 978-1878448699
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #898,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This debut novel begins with news of a death, but soon the dead are sitting up and demanding attention. Ramona must cope with a talkative sister-in-law and her husband, plus her grandparents, all dead, and all moving into her home that looks out on the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. She must endure their constant interference with the present. The past comes alive too in the novel's eponymous journal, one written in 1924 by the village historian and sculptor, a relative of Ramona's. Here the past and present are surreally intertwined.

From Publishers Weekly

Ramona Montoya, the main character of this slight but beautifully written first novel set in a dusty, timeless Southwestern town, is a 44-year-old painter whose house is inhabited by a host of dead relatives who speak, make coffee and occasionally borrow her truck. After her brother and sister-in-law are killed when their car hits a cow standing in the middle of the road, Ramona takes charge of her young nephew, Jose. (At the burial, Jose's mother sits up in her coffin and says "Ramona, I want you to take Jose.") Ramona's other brother, Flavio, estranged from his sister, is so unnerved by the ghostly relatives, he gives up on the idea of removing Jose from his strange new home. Ramona's dead grandmother, after clearing the table one night, hands her the journal of Antonio Montoya, another relative and a sculptor of religious statues. The 1924 journal is the story of the village, full of births, deaths, feuds and accidents, and its entries are woven into the narrative as Ramona reads them. While Ramona's story is imbued with her painterly sensibilities, the journal provides glimpses into the sculptor's art, the role of the santos in the lives of some of the villagers and the fate of the statues, which Ramona and little Jose will find. The novel becomes a mystical meditation on the workings of the artistic mind, but it begs for more of a plot. Still, Collignon delivers his own engaging brand of magical realism with a spare style, deadpan humor and bracingly fresh descriptions.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By xdlcx@msn.com on January 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
For a first novel, Rick Collignon could not have done better. The story revolves around Ramona Montoya. She rediscovers herself and her roots as a result of an accident where she finds herself the adopted mother of her nephew Jose. There is a sort of a haunting, but only of the best kind because Ramona finds assistance from her dead grandparents and others who come to remind her who she really is. It's a wonderful story meant to be read again and again. In my book, Collignon's gift of story telling is beyond compare.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John D. Costanzo on February 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
In this superb novel, the recently dead relatives and the not so recently dead relatives of an orphaned boy and his Aunt come back to "haunt" them in a way that changes their lives forever. This was a beautiful and moving novel, told with humor and written in clear stylish prose. I was immediately swept up in the world created by the author and became totally immersed in the characters and their drama. I consider this a masterpiece and I highly recommend it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Chandler at chndlrs@aol.com on December 30, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This well-crafted story set in New Mexico was a treat: Marquez-esque arrivals of the dearly departed; wives with complusive tortilla making disorders; and lots and lots of family and family troubles. A fine first novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 13, 1998
Format: Paperback
The Journal of Antonio Montoya is a poignant, magical, and quietly humorous tale about the acceptance of loss and change. It takes place in a hispanic community in the mountains of New Mexico, where Ramona Montoya, a reclusive artist, learns to accept life even as she learns to accept loss. I'm very glad that I read the book, and am putting it on my list of favorites.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mob@worldnet.att.net on December 26, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This is my favorite kind of book: unselfconsciously literary, funny, profound, filled with characters I would like to meet, set in a place where I would like to live, telling a real story that is complete fantasy. --Mary Overton
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Format: Paperback
The Journal of Antonio Montoya by Rick Collignon takes place in the Sangre de Christos mountains but has a sense of timelessness. Ramona has isolated herself in her dusty hometown after returning from several years away trying to find success as an author. She lives alone in her grandparents' house with no sense of purpose or intention until her brother and his wife die, leaving their son an orphan. When the boy's mother sits up in her casket at the graveside and tells Ramona to take care of Jose, Ramona thinks that her mind is starting to slip, but when she takes the boy home, they are greeted by her long dead grandparents who proceed to take care of the pair by cooking and irrigating the fields. Her grandmother gives her an old journal that pulls into the life of the mysterious Antonio Montoya. This book is nearly impossible to summarize. The story quietly unfurls in front of the reader, gently pulling him/her in to Ramona and Antonio's lives. Collignon's quiet prose captures the steady rhythm of small town life and how it can beat down the gentlest of souls. In the end, Ramona is changed by her discoveries in the journal, and the reader may share in her revelation.
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