The Town of Babylon

Finalist, National Book Awards 2022 for Fiction

book cover for Alejandro Varela, The Town of Babylon
ISBN 9781662601033
Astra House / Astra Publishing House
author photo of Alejandro Varela. (Photo credit: Allison Michael Orenstein)
Alejandro Varela

Alejandro Varela is based in New York. His work has appeared in the Boston Review, The Yale Review, The Georgia ReviewThe PointHarper’s Magazine, and The Offing, among other publications.  More about this author >

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From the publisher:

In this contemporary debut novel—an intimate portrait of queer, racial, and class identity —Andrés, a gay Latinx professor, returns to his suburban hometown in the wake of his husband’s infidelity. There he finds himself with no excuse not to attend his twenty-year high school reunion, and hesitantly begins to reconnect with people he used to call friends.

Over the next few weeks, while caring for his aging parents and navigating the neighborhood where he grew up, Andrés falls into old habits with friends he thought he’d left behind. Before long, he unexpectedly becomes entangled with his first love and is forced to tend to past wounds.

Captivating and poignant; a modern coming-of-age story about the essential nature of community, The Town of Babylon is a page-turning novel about young love and a close examination of our social systems and the toll they take when they fail us.

Judges Citation

Intimate and expansive, universal and local, funny and heartbreaking, Alejandro Varela’s The Town of Babylon delivers a rich, energetic narrative of life and death in an American suburb. A gay Latinx man returns to his hometown to care for ailing parents and finds himself forced to confront the histories of love, loss, struggle, and sacrifice that, for better and worse, have formed him. With this urgent, vivid novel, Varela has given us a modern classic and an indelible portrait of our times.


Alejandro Varela at the 2022 National Book Awards Finalist Reading