Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

Graywolf Press is proud to announce a series of events throughout 2024 celebrating fifty years of adventurous publishing, featuring debut and longstanding authors and taking place in New York City, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Chicago, and Tucson. More here

Book Title

The Complete History of New Mexico

Author 1
Kevin McIlvoy
I am going to write about the state of New Mexico and put in some maps and stuff from the encyclopedia. My theme is the Don Juan Onate trail and the Jornada Del Muerto. But I might write some other important things which as it turns out my stepmother got angry about and said she wouldn't type this until my Dad said "Dammit now it is history" and told her maybe there weren't commas in those days.

"The Complete History of New Mexico" is no ordinary research paper, and this is no ordinary collection of short stories. Eleven-year-old Chum's "history" unfolds over three distinctive and increasingly disturbing sections. He tells that "Coronado explored around and found Santa Fe in 1610"; "William Becknell was tracking wagons over everyplace in 1821"; and how every day his best friend Daniel is afraid to go home.

McIlvoy intersperses the title novella with equally distinctive stories set in New Mexico. Laura, a plain, overweight nurse encounters a terrified young man on his way to the Vietnam war and takes matters into her own hands. An enormous fiberglass rhinoceros resides in a family's barn and ultimately provides shelter from hopelessness. Zach spends time with his "white trash" relatives and finds love's terrible and true face beneath the din of obscene provocations, bullying, and outbreaks of rage.

Share Title

List Price
Publication Date
Publication Date
Trim Size
Trim Size
6 1/2 x 9
"Compelling and complex . . . Strange and wonderful."—The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Kevin  McIlvoy
Credit: Russell Mott

Kevin McIlvoy is the author of six books, including The Complete History of New Mexico. He lives with his wife and two sons in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

More by author


  • “Like all good foundational narratives. . . . both sentimental and subversive.”—The Believer
  • “The McIlvoyian insight and charm return, full force.”—Kirkus Reviews
  • “Kevin McIlvoy, with his novella, The Complete History of New Mexico, has earned his place next to these books [Huckleberry Finn and Edisto], and the collection as a whole can be ranked with the finer collections of Hemingway, O’Connor, Sherwood Anderson, and Donald Barthelme. If this is what small press publishing has come to, then American literature is in good hands.”—Pleiades
  • “This collection provides us with glimpses of people so much like ourselves that it hurts…McIlvoy has crafted a novella that is unlike any other I’ve read.”—American Book Review
Back to Table of Contents