January Reading – The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border

We had a great bookclub at Tim’s house Friday. 11 guys came. 4 newbies.

We chose The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú (buy local, digital, or library!). This book is a non-fiction account  the years Cantú spent working as an agent for the US Border Patrol, and his interior journey toward coming to terms with the violent nature of that work. He became obsessed with the border in college, and had become filled with all of these questions about it…

Plot highlight:

For Francisco Cantu, the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Haunted by the landscape of his youth, Cantu joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners are posted to remote regions crisscrossed by drug routes and smuggling corridors, where they learn to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights. They haul in the dead and deliver to detention those they find alive. Cantu tries not to think where the stories go from there.

Plagued by nightmares, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantu discovers that the border has migrated with him, and now he must know the whole story. Searing and unforgettable, The Line Becomes a River makes urgent and personal the violence our border wreaks on both sides of the line.

About the Author:

Francisco Cantú served as an agent for the United States Border Patrol from 2008 to 2012, working in the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. A former Fulbright fellow, he is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a 2017 Whiting Award. His writing and translations have been featured in Best American Essays, Harper’s, n+1, Orion, and Guernica, as well as on This American Life. He lives in Tucson.

Next book club is in DENVER at new guy Austin’s house on February 8th. 221 S. Garfield St. #206, Denver, CO 80209.

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