Fiction and Chicana and Chicano

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You Must Fight Them: A Novella and Stories

Maceo Montoya

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.


Maceo Montoya is an assistant professor in the Department of Chicano Studies at the University of California, Davis, and an affiliated faculty member of Taller Arte del Nuevo Amenecer (TANA), a community-based art center in Woodland, California. He is also the author of The Scoundrel and the Optimist and The Deportation of Wopper Barraza: A Novel (UNM Press). His paintings, drawings, and prints have been widely exhibited and published.


“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

“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.”



“Montoya’s short stories are tight, witty, and insightful. . . . 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.”


5.5 x 8.5 in. 200 pages