The Line Becomes A River (Hardback)Francisco Cantu (author)
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How does a line in the sand become a barrier that people will risk everything to cross?
Francisco Cantu was a US Border Patrol agent from 2008 to 2012. He worked the desert along the Mexican border, at the remote crossroads of drug routes and smuggling corridors, tracking humans through blistering days and frigid nights across a vast terrain.
He detains the exhausted and the parched. He hauls in the dead.
He tries not to think where the stories go from there. He is descended from Mexican immigrants, so the border is in his blood. But the line he is sworn to defend is dissolving.
Haunted by nightmares, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. And when an immigrant friend is caught on the wrong side of the border, Cantu faces a final confrontation with a world he believed he had escaped.
The Line Becomes a River is timely and electrifying. As America and the rest of the world becomes increasingly focused on border and sovereignty, it's a heartbreaking story that reminds us of the human stories behind the statistics. It brings to life a landscape defined by sprawling borderlands and the countless people who risk their lives to cross it. Yet it takes us beyond one person's experience to reveal truths about life on either side of an arbitrary line, wherever it is.
'Stunningly good. Beautiful, smart, raw, sad, poetic and humane... It's the best thing I've read for ages' - James Rebanks, author of The Shepherd's Life
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 395 g
Dimensions: 222 x 144 x 26 mm
'Lyrical and moving... Cantu describes the borderlands and his work there with a raw-nerved tenderness that seems to have been won from both the landscape and the violence he was implicated in. Told in three increasingly soul-searching parts, The Line Becomes a River frequently feels momentous... Remarkable' - William Atkins, The Guardian
'Tender, lyrical, and with a singular poise that is unsentimental and restrained, in prose as clear as desert air' - John Paul Rathbone, The Financial Times
'[A] must-read memoir ... Cantu's skill as a writer proves an equal match for his material. A digestible account of US and Mexico relations, a nuanced portrait of Mexican cultural blessings and ills, The Line Becomes A River is a page-turning personal story that holds until the final page and wrenches long after.' - Olivia Cole, GQ
'A raw, compelling memoir... The Line Becomes a River offers an eloquent rebuke to all those who look to build walls rather than build bridges between people.' - Nick Rennison, The Sunday Times
'Fascinating and heartbreaking.' - Lucy Scholes, The Independent
'Cantu's sparsely poetic non-fiction debut is timely ... Radio 4's Book of the Week is brilliantly evocative of the starkly beautiful reaches of the desert and of the human stories behind the statistics. Alongside the personal dimension, Cantu intelligently explores the history and causes of Mexican immigration to America, and the US response.' - Radio Times
'[A] honest (and, not incidentally, beautifully written) evocation of one human experience.' - Daniel Hahn, Spectator
'A book that whips across your face like a sandstorm, embedding bits of the desert into your skin that, like it or not, you'll carry forward.' - The San Francisco Chronicle
'His lyrical asides about the border, from the history of its creation to quotations of poets who've written about it, are passionately delivered and speak to his urge to give nameless migrants an identity' - The LA Times