A Rare Thing — a novel by Rudy Apodaca

    This novel, A Rare Thing, was published (Publication Date: December, 2011) by AuthorHouse, of Bloomington, Indiana. Please see below for additional information. It is available at most bookstores, by special order if not stocked. It is also available at the websites of Amazon and Barnes & Noble (see links below).



    THIS BOOK HAD ME FROM THE BEGINNING This book had me from the beginning. Part of that is because I love New Mexico. But what got me was the author does an amazing job of making you really care for his characters. This is a very human, moving story. It is so well written that you really want to find another book written like this one. I come back to this book from time to time just to read certain passages as if for the first time. A beautiful story. –J. M.

    RINGS AS TRUE AS THE BELL AT SAN ALBINO'S CHURCH IN MESILLA, NM: Rudy Apodaca delivers the goods in this bittersweet novel of life and love along el Rio Grande. A New Mexico story that transcends place and explores feelings and emotions we can all relate to. This one is told from the heart. Bravo, Rudy. -A. W. W.

     MOVING: I couldn't put it down once I began reading. It was emotional and moving and had elements that all could relate to and draw on. This was not your typical cookie cutter love story with happily ever after. It was exciting, engrossing and sad all at the same time. -K. C.

    A WONDERFUL BOOK ABOUT A GREAT PERIOD!: What a great story about a Mexican-American boy who endured incredible hardships and emerged as the "true" hero. It was heartwarming to see how a young boy grew in spite of his single, if sometimes absent parent. The young man's thoughts were expressed to the point that you felt you were the one growing up in the small New Mexico community. What a great read! It is highly recommended. -W.A.

    A REFRESHING READ: I thoroughly enjoyed Rudy Apodaca's vivid image of a small town life and a troubled family. In spite of the obstacles encountered, the story's hero emerged as the "rare thing", which during that period of bigotry and racism was difficult. Rudy Apodaca did an excellent job portraying that period in the small town of New Mexico. -S.C.M.

    ENGROSSING: I thoroughly enjoyed reading Rudy Apodaca's latest novel, and in fact couldn't put it down. He poignantly evokes the spirit of Southern New Mexico in the mid-20th century, through the experiences of a young Mexican-American man, Javier, with roots on both sides of the border. Javier must overcome both personal tragedy and racist attitudes in order to come to terms with his relationship with his father and building a loving future with the young woman of his dreams. -S. A.

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: This story envelopes the reader into the human spirit of hope and forgiveness in a small town in New Mexico during the mid-50s and 60s. It tears emotionally deep within the reader with the conflicts of feelings that are woven within the storyline. Rudy Apodaca is a master storyteller, and his latest book is a cultural jewel. -J. T.

    MY HOMETOWN: Rudy Apodaca's book, A Rare Thing, may not be so rare these days. The author draws on his long experience as an attorney and judge to write about tragedies in a poignant and novel way that have destroyed families, and still do. The novel is a talented crafted story of true experiences that evoke emotions. The book is a must read for young and old alike. I know, the setting is my Hometown. -M. J. C.

    WONDERFUL!: I enjoyed reading this book very much. Some parts reminded me of the small town I grew up in. I have read all of Rudy Apodaca's books; he is a true storyteller. I recommend it to everyone! -A. N.

    A RARE THING!: A story that not only keeps your interest but one that you can relate to and also get emotionally involved with. -R. J. T.


    A Rare Thing plunges the depths of the human heart. It tells the story of Javier Jimenez and his father, Nicolas, men broken by war, resurrected in family, and illuminated in hope. Rudy Apodaca shows us the terrible toll of a young man who must share a room with the raging alcoholic veteran who is his father and then must resolve his own anger and loss to seek his own path of freedom. We, like the protagonist, feel his conflicted love and hate. And yes, we know that likewise we must heal the haunted part of our lives not only for ourselves but for our family whose essence we carry in our being. The legacy of any war is an incredible sadness and want our manda/mandate is to go back to mend the many wounds of conflict of the heart and spirit. Rudy Apodaca charts this territory without trepidation, with strength and with wonder. Denise Chavez, author of A Taco Testimony: Meditations on Family, Food and Culture

    Readers of all ages will be glued to this book as it tells the tale of a young man dealing with the death of a mother at an early age, an alcoholic father, poverty, a sexually abusive priest, adolescence, And what does it take to ride the roller-coaster of love with a young woman whose mother has trouble accepting Hispanics? There are surprises and mysteries as the hero agonizes and plows his way to manhood. Norman Keifetz, author of The Sensation

    Like a fine salsa, A Rare Thing is infused with real gente and the genuine cultural flavors of the Southwest. New Mexico has produced another master storyteller in Rudy Apodaca. Texas literary landscape is that much richer as a result. El Paso Times


    A Rare Thing is a story of redemption and forgiveness. In the small New Mexico town of San Carlos in the 1950s and 60s, a motherless Chicano youngster, Javier Jimenez, finds himself forced into an early manhood. The boy’s father, Nicolas, a Korean War veteran, loves and cares for his son dearly. But as he drinks himself into the depths of alcoholism, he struggles through life wallowing in self-pity.

    Javier tries his best to cope not only with his own loneliness but the day-to-day hardships of living with an alcoholic father. Nicolas finds his sobriety when he meets Ramona. He marries her, thinking that will fulfill his needs, but his hopes are short lived, soon discovering he can’t escape his loneliness.

    Into this setting enters Deborah Perkins. She moves into Javier’s neighborhood. Javier and Deborah eventually fall in love, much to the chagrin of Deborah’s mother, who doesn’t share her husband’s fascination for Southwestern culture and believes her daughter can do much better than what Javier has to offer.

    Tragedy strikes, and Javier moves to California to live with an aunt and uncle. Deborah and he struggle to continue their relationship despite the distance and Deborah’s mother’s prejudices. Confused and unsure of his future, Javier leaves college to join the Army and ends up in Vietnam, where he sees his fellow soldiers dying every day.

    Reminiscing about his father, he must face his own mortality, as he grapples with his own identity. Nicolas’s spirit appears at a critical moment with words to give Javier strength. Contemplating the real possibility of his death, he reconciles with himself, gaining strength from visions of his father as a good man who had more than his share of bad luck. Javier comes to grips with whether he has forgiven him for his frailties and failure as a parent.


    People I’ve met sometimes ask me if the stories I’ve "told" in my novels are autobiographical. I usually tell them that in the pure sense, they are not, but follow my comment with somewhat of a disclaimer by stating that all writers I know or have met write about their own life experiences, which are then, either consciously or subconsciously, translated into the characters they create and bring to life in their books. In that respect, I take note, I’m no different than other writers.

    The story in A Rare Thing grew over the years from my own experiences as a native and resident of southern New Mexico and from the people I knew who lived most of their lives there. Although the story in the novel for the most part takes place in a small, fictional town I've named San Carlos, in the story, San Carlos is a town very much like my own hometown of Las Cruces back in the 1950s and early 1960s, when it could still be considered a small town.

    I once read that it is the fiction writer’s job to evoke the emotions of the reader in the telling of a story. It is my sincere hope that I’ve succeeded doing that with A Rare Thing.


         Rudy Apodaca, a native of New Mexico, lives with his wife, Nancy, in Austin, Texas. He began his career as a trial attorney and practiced law in Las Cruces, New Mexico for 22 years before serving as an appellate judge on the New Mexico Court of Appeals for about 14 years, over two of those years as Chief Judge. When he’s not writing, he divides his time between providing mediation/arbitration services, doing volunteer work, and spending time with his children and grandchildren. He’s the author of several essays.


ISBN Numbers and Suggested Retail Prices:

Hardcover Edition:  978-1-4685-0723-2; $25.95
Softcover Edition:   978-1-4685-0724-9;  $17.95
E-Book Edition:       978-1-4685-0722-5;    $9.99

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