Fernando Granados is a university professor in financial trouble when a boyhood friend he hasn’t seen in thirty years reenters his life. Memo Galindo, now part of a notorious Mexican cartel, soon persuades Fernando to build a meth lab on his country property, just outside the ancient town of Remedios. Fernando’s strong-willed wife Sandra and their beloved 18-year-old son Félix each fall under Memo’s charismatic spell. The cascading family crisis plays out on a larger stage, from its roots in Guatemala’s civil war in the ’80s to corruption in the Guatemalan army and American DEA, in a country where even the forces of nature wreak vengeance.
Clearman, author of Concepción and the Baby Brokers ( “stories about hard choices borne of desperation and the stark delineations between classes”—Kirkus), offers a high adrenaline thriller about family, fear, secrets, and what happens when we make the wrong decisions for the right reasons. Remedios is a gripping, profoundly human story of love and betrayal.
In this world of almost constant terror, Clearman offers words of piercing poetry that can stir the soul.
—Heidi Mastrogiovanni, New York Journal of Books
—Author Ben Dolnick
—Author Judy Chicurel
—Author Eduardo Juarez
Deborah Clearman is the author of Remedios (New Meridian Arts Literary Press, 2020), Concepción and the Baby Brokers and Other Stories Out of Guatemala (Rain Mountain Press, 2017), and Todos Santos (Black Lawrence Press, 2010). Her short fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals. She wrote and illustrated The Goose’s Tale for children.
Deborah was born in North Carolina and grew up on a tobacco farm in Southern Maryland. She studied art history and fine arts at Bryn Mawr College and pursued a career in painting. Represented by First Street Gallery in New York City, her paintings and prints have been widely exhibited in galleries and museums.
Since her first visit to Guatemala in 1978, Deborah has been back many times, living for a year in the village of Todos Santos in 2001-2002. She continues to maintain a close connection to the country and her Guatemalan friends to this day.
Interview via Zoom with Louie b. Free
BrainFood from the Heartland, 21 WFMJ
Catherine Barnes—shocked to discover her marriage isn’t what she thought it was—travels to Guatemala for some soul searching. She takes along her rebellious fourteen-year-old son Isaac, intending to leave him with his tough-love aunt, while she paints pictures for a children’s book. In the remote mountain village of Todos Santos she falls under the spell of a rugged landscape and its welcoming, tenacious Mayan inhabitants. Just as she starts to feel at home in earthy kitchens where women pat out tortillas and tell her the stories of their lives, she discovers that Isaac is missing. Kidnappers are on their way to collect ransom from her in Todos Santos.
Concepción and the Baby Brokers
And Other Stories Out of Guatemala
In nine thematically linked stories set largely in Guatemala, Concepción And The Baby Brokers brings to life characters struggling with universal emotions and dilemmas in a place unfamiliar to most Americans. From the close-knit community of Todos Santos to the teeming danger of Guatemala City, to a meat-packing plant in Michigan and the gardens of Washington DC, Deborah Clearman shows us the human cost of international adoption, drug trafficking, and immigration.
from The Lascaux Review, (January 2016)
When lightning strikes the tulip poplar, five hundred years of leaf lifting crashes into splinter wood, and several notables roll over in their graves, so Mama says. Among the dead mourners of the mighty poplar are: Christopher Columbus who shares its sproutday; an Indian chief, Emperor of the Piscataway, whose councils held under its green pavilion failed to stem the white pestilence; a Civil War widow by the name of Trump who to this day leaves her ghostly hairpins on the branch where she upstrung herself, Mama says. Not only that, but me and my younger brother Beeboo’s old fort, hidden in the tulip’s roomy trunk, is charred black as burnt marshmallows. Beeboo tells me girls don’t belong in forts. But I’m twelve and don’t take lip from ten.
from Witness, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Summer 2014)
I didn’t hear it coming. I was walking west on B—Street in lower Manhattan, minding my own business in my own neighborhood, enjoying the careless sunshine on the wide, uncrowded sidewalk, trying to avoid the cracks. Suddenly a bicycle sailed up from behind and tore past me on the sidewalk, just grazing my left sleeve. I uttered a startled shriek and heard the bicyclist laugh in response. I caught a glimpse of him, the pumping of a muscled thigh in black tights, the matching jersey with its bold yellow stripe hunched forward over the handlebars, so like the cycling outfit my ex-husband used to wear—could it be he? But what would he be doing so far downtown? “You asshole!” I shouted after him, and his laughter became uproarious. He sped by a woman and a young child walking toward me and disappeared around a corner. My heart pounded, his laughter rang in my ears, and I felt the air rush from my lungs as if sucked out by his slipstream, leaving me empty and gasping.
from Hamilton Stone Review, Issue No. 27 (Fall 2012)
“Un descanso, por favor!” Elizabeth gasped. A rest, for God’s sake.
An American woman, in midlife and freshly divorced, she had shed the constraints of New Jersey and left the known world for Guatemala. Booted and clad entirely in exploration khaki (even her close-cropped hair was khaki!), she clambered up a steep trail after her native guide, gulping in air woefully deficient in oxygen.
from Green Hills Literary Lantern, Vol. 23 (Summer 2012)
Felix Pérez Cruz drove the last bus out of Huehuetenango bound for Todos Santos, the bus called the Flor de Cuchumatán. The night his mother died, as it would turn out, he was driving too fast, and the Flor went off the road on the curve above my house, tumbled ninety meters down the mountainside with a big clatter of metal and rock, and landed upside down on my patio.
A Little Night Music
from storySouth, Issue 33 (Spring 2012)
“Dear cunningvixen349, Your profile was pure pleasure—one of the most fascinating descriptions I’ve read. We definitely have things in common, both big and little. However, I only date women my own age or younger. I suspect that I don’t understand younger women, and I probably bore them. Nevertheless, your age would be an insurmountable barrier for us. Good luck in your search. Signed, eagleonthewing557.”
I stare at the screen. Lands sakes! How much abuse does a gal have to take? With the five years I’ve shaved off my biological age, I only superannuate him by three. What do these men want?
from The Adirondack Review, Vol. XII No. 4 (Spring 2012)
Concepcion’s idea was to give the jaladores just one baby. Think about it. Is a woman not overblessed with two identical sons? One son is a gift, a joy, a polestar. The second? A redundancy.