Alex Espinoza’s novel about a dying lucha libre star pulls no punches — or thrown chairs or choke holds.

Author and MacDowell Fellow Alex Espinoza’s (19) MacDowell-supported novel, The Sons of El Rey, pulls no punches – or thrown chairs or choke holds, for that matter. Centered on a lucha libre star, the book is no less than “a knockout,” raves Publishers Weekly in a starred review.

The Sons of El Rey weaves together the lives of four individuals who visit Ernesto Vega, an elderly former wrestler spending his last days in a Los Angeles hospice — his two sons, his wife, and the manifestation of his own wrestler persona, El Rey Coyote — across perspective, place, and notably time.

Writing in The Boston Globe, author Elizabeth Gonzalez James praises Espinoza for carrying “the notion of an eternal struggle across his story lines to perfection." And his “love of the sport — Mexico’s second most popular, after soccer — is evident on every page, and some of the book’s most delightful moments come when he’s giving readers a blow-by-blow, or providing background information about its intricacies."

The new novel, Espinoza's third, came out in June with Simon & Schuster, and the author wrote much of it in MacDowell's Chapman Studio as summer turned to fall in 2019.

“Where to begin?” Espinoza told us after his residency. “Just having space, time, and solitude was about as amazing and glorious as it gets. The fact that you all catered to me as much as you did made me feel welcomed, validated, and cared for. MacDowell showed me that there is a need for artists to come together, to share their work, and cultivate community. I shall carry my experiences here forward with me wherever I go."

Read about other new works supported by MacDowell Fellowships.

Search for the #MadeAtMacDowell tag on social media to see a history of MacDowell-supported works.

Two images are paired side-by-side: On the left is the cover of Alex Espinoza’s novel THE SONS OF EL REY. On the right is Alex himself. He wears jeans and a blue button-down shirt and leans up against a green support beam in a green forest.

Alex Espinoza outside MacDowell’s Chapman Studio in September 2019 (Joanna Eldredge Morrissey photo).