Winner of the 2015 Gina Berriault Award!

To those outside it, Pilsen is a vast barrio on the south side of Chicago. To Alexai Galaviz-Budziszewski, it is a world of violence and decay and beauty, of nuance and pure chance. It is a place where the smell of cooking frijoles is washed away by that of dead fish in the river, where vendettas are a daily routine, and where a fourteen-year-old immigrant might hold the ability bring people back from the dead.

Simultaneously tough and tender, these stories mark the debut of a writer poised to represent his city’s literature for decades to come.

Praise for Painted Cities:

“What attracts me to Alexai’s writing is its humanity and its authenticity. I know the neighborhood and he gets it right, but I don’t mean authentic merely in terms of streets, slang, and folkways; I mean authentic in terms of the literary tradition that he’s writing in—one senses the great Chicago writers of neighborhood behind this—Algren and James Farrell.…[Here is] a young writer with a genuine voice.”
—Stuart Dybek

“The 70s and 80s of Galaviz-Budziszewski’s childhood spring up like a diorama, and eventually Painted Cities begins to feel … like a journey through a living, breathing (and dying) universe.”
Chicago Reader

“In his nuanced and moving short story collection Painted Cities Alexai Galaviz-Budziszewski brings a south Chicago neighborhood to life.”
Largehearted Boy

“Like Stuart Dybek and Peter Orner, whose endorsements unsurprisingly adorn the back of this collection of short stories, Alexai Galaviz-Budziszewski plants his fiction deep in Chicago soil.”
—​The New York Times​

“It’s Galaviz-Budziszewski’s distaste for nostalgia, in fact, that makes Painted Cities, his debut collection of short stories about his youth in Pilsen, so remarkable.”
Chicago Tribune

“Ruminative, clever and soulful”
The New York Times Book Review