You Must Fight Them

  A Novella and Stories by Maceo Montoya

Selected Praise

Available from:

University of New Mexico Press

In the novella You Must Fight Them, a short, bookish half-Mexican doctoral student returns to his hometown of Woodland, California, and tries to reconnect with Lupita Valdez, the girl he worshipped in high school. But in order to date Lupita, he must first fight her three hulking brothers. Attempting to make sense of his unusual predicament, he ruminates on his many insecurities—his definition of manhood and the ambiguities of his mixed-race identity.


In this collection we meet characters navigating the difficult situations that arise when different worlds collide, from a professor teaching a course on Latino gangs who makes the unwise decision to invite two former rival gang members as guest lecturers, to an artist threatened by the twin sons of his poor white neighbor. Though this memorable cast of characters faces unique quandaries—and deals with these problems in questionable ways—their stories are driven by a desire to set the record straight.


“Montoya’s short stories are tight, witty and insightful. Even when told by a limited point of view, a complete and diverse universe expands around the plot. And although, most of the stories take place in a specific Mexican-American community in Woodland, California, like Joyce’s Dubliners, a universality comes blazing through, as if by analyzing one microscopic corner of contemporary California, we can feel bonded to and amazed by the lives of others who cross our paths daily.”


- New Pages

Selected Interviews:

"Montoya proves that he is a master of the short form with these gripping, evocative, and deftly crafted narratives of the Chicano experience."


- Daniel A. Olivas, El Paso Times

“This book is comprised of six short stories that will keep you wishing each was a full length book. Each of the stories is so captivating that you hate it when they end. This is a testament to the writer’s talent…You must put this author on your radar. If you’re looking for a good read, then this is one book you have to pick up. I can’t wait to see what he writes next. In a nutshell I have six words to say about this author, ‘Wow, wow, wow – pretty impressive writing!’”



"Montoya writes with a marvelous economy of prose, parsing comedy and pathos only paragraphs apart…in its realism about the devastating strength of family ties and the tenuousness of romantic passion, You Must Fight Them is a wise and entertaining tale."


- Santa Fe New Mexican

“A heartbreaking collection of stories spun from the interior worlds of men, where the struggle is to surface for breath by navigating through personal grief, vulnerability, and pain. Original and poignant, these are the complex representations of Latino masculinity and Latino identity we have been yearning to read.”


- Rigoberto González, author of Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa

“Maceo Montoya’s brilliant talent is right up there next to Sherman Alexie’s. His humorous insight into culture and masculinity leaves us suspended in a web of broken family values tarnished by petty street codes. This is a major writer.”


- Ernesto Quiñonez, author of Bodega Dreams