“Ana Castillo is an American treasure. Fearless, compassionate, and flat-out brilliant—she is the writer we need as we navigate the challenges of our ever-changing world.”—Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage

“Ana Castillo is de primera storyteller.”—award-winning author Julia Alvarez

Literary legend Ana Castillo explores the secrets that are kept within households and the women they impact the most in this breakout collection that cements her place as a leading voice in feminist fiction.

The first person in her traditional Mexican American family to graduate from high school, Katia is entering adulthood at a time of turbulent change. Across the nation young people are fighting for civil and women’s rights and protesting the Vietnam War and brutal dictatorships in South America. Like so many of her generation, Katia wants to make the world a better place, and is determined to follow her own path.

 As she considers moving to California to join La Causa, Mexican American activist Cesar Chavez’s movement to improve the working conditions of migrant farmer workers, Katia receives an unexpected gift from her father: a plane ticket to Mexico City. Bring back your mother, he says, tell her, her children need her. And so Katia joins this cause, to get Tina back to Chicago. But it won't be easy. Katia must learn to navigate a liberated version of her mother in a new country where she is now hawking supposedly superior cleaning products, called Donna Clean Well.

 Katia is but one of the voices introduced in this dazzling collection of short fiction from revered writer Ana Castillo. Spanning from Chicago to Mexico to New Mexico, the stories in Doña Cleanwell Leaves Home illuminate a chorus of people whose stories will leave you breathless.

About the author(s)

Ana Castillo is a celebrated poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, editor, playwright, translator, and scholar. Born and raised in Chicago, her award winning, bestselling titles include the novels So Far from God, The Guardians, Peel My Love like an Onion, and Sapogonia, which was a New York Times Notable Book, and the poetry collection I Ask the Impossible. She has received numerous awards, including the 2018 PEN Oakland Lifetime Achievement Award, the Fuller Award for Lifetime Achievement, and was inducted into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.


“Ana Castillo is an American treasure. Fearless, compassionate, and flat-out brilliant—she is the writer we need as we navigate the challenges of our ever-changing world.”
Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage 

"[Writers] have broken out of the boxes of Chicanx literature/feminism/xicanisma that can be descriptive, but limiting. What Castillo and others have accomplished is to demonstrate to the literary world that our stories are indeed 'rich, universal literature.' Castillo is top shelf.” — El Tecolote

“Ana Castillo is de primera storyteller. . . . Her voice is distinctive-zany, knowing, rhythmic, with its very own mix of Latino–U.S. of A. cadences . . . able to hold our attention from the first to last page.”  — New York Times bestselling author Julia Alvarez

"The variety of voices in Castillo’s collection is impressive, with characters spanning different ages, genders, nationalities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. She writes each protagonist with empathy and a convincing style." — Chicago Reader

“What a joyous, wonderful, achy collection. These stories shimmer! Ana Castillo is at her best—storytelling with compassion, clarity and cultural wisdom."  
Sandra Guzmán, award-winning journalist, filmmaker, and author  

“Ana Castillo is back and our collective souls will be thankful for it! This rich collection is brimming over with yearning, love and memories so visceral, I’d linger on them as if they were my own. Castillo has always birthed indelible characters, and the men and women who inhabit Doña Cleanwell Leaves Home prove her gift for illuminating the nuances of humanity are more lustrous than ever." — Xochitl Gonzalez, author of Olga Dies Dreaming

“Celebrated author Castillo’s latest collection centers on women—their secrets and disappointments and, ultimately, their hope and freedom—via a wide variety of characters, including a geeky spinster sister whose younger brother learns of her passionate love story only after her death, and a married woman who gets unpleasantly jarred from her menopausal malaise. Throughout, Castillo uses her compassionate voice to illustrate the determination, bravery and imagination of everyday Latina women.” — Ms. magazine

“In the case of Castillo's story collection, the characters’ worlds careen over, under, and around each other. From Chicago to Mexico City and other points south, these Mexicans, New Mexicans, Mexican immigrants, their descendants, and a few ghosts attempt to connect with varying levels of success. . . . Readers will be thrilled that Castillo has returned to fiction after her book of poetry, My Book of the Dead (2021).” — Booklist

“A new collection of stories from a grande dame of Chicana literature. . . . Throughout these stories, Mexico is the source of both mystery and clarity, whether through characters’ histories as immigrants or children of immigrants, or because, as happens frequently, the characters in these tales must travel there, like Dorothy to Oz, to unlock knowledge which often has the potential to alter their lives. . . . Castillo’s truth-seeking characters leave an impression.”
Kirkus Reviews

More Short Stories

More Hispanic & Latino

More Cultural Heritage