The New American

Micheline Aharonian Marcom. Simon & Schuster, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-1-9821-2072-6
In Marcom’s powerful, heartbreaking latest (after The Brick House), an undocumented college student makes the long odyssey back to California from Guatemala after being deported. Emilio Matias, 21, is a UC Berkeley student in 2012 when he gets in a car accident. After he is unable to produce a valid ID, the police turn him over to ICE, who jail him for months before sending him to his aunt’s house in Todos Santos, Guatemala. Desperate to return to his home, his studies, his family, and his girlfriend in California, Emilio embarks on a violent and treacherous trip hopping freight trains with four other migrants. Along the way, members of their group become victims of thieves, rapists, and sadistic police, and must contend with unreliable smugglers. There are also safe houses and villagers who provide food, water, clothing, and medical care, and generous fellow migrants. Marcom’s prose is steady and soulful, particularly during the graphic, harrowing account of an excruciating Sonora Desert crossing, and the narrative is deepened by a series of lyrical interludes describing dangerous journeys of unnamed refugees (“they and all of our stories are dark phenomena of this dark earth,” one reflects). Marcom’s remarkable tale credibly captures the desperation and despair of those who undertake the dangerous trek north. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 03/11/2020
Release date: 08/18/2020
Genre: Fiction
Book - 978-1-9821-2073-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-0948-0
Book - 978-1-9821-2074-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-0950-3
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