The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border (Compact Disc)
February 2018 Indie Next List
“Cantu personalizes the U.S.-Mexican border and all of its complexity in a way I've never seen. His writing is beautiful, with haunting and detailed descriptions of the desert, the immigrants, the cartels, and his own fears about violence and identity confusion. The criminalization of searching for a better life and the dehumanization of the process is looked at from several angles, and his journalistic approach does not make judgments, but clearly tells the facts. A great new writer to follow.”
— Pat Marsello, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM
"A beautiful, fiercely honest, and nevertheless deeply empathetic look at those who police the border and the migrants who risk - and lose - their lives crossing it. In a time of often ill-informed or downright deceitful political rhetoric, this book is an invaluable corrective."
--Phil Klay For Francisco Cantu, the border is in the blood. His mother, a second-generation Mexican American, raised him in Arizona's desert scrublands and the national parks where she worked as a ranger, driven to protect the places she loved. Haunted by the landscape of his youth, Cantu joins the Border Patrol. Stationed at the remote crossroads of a drug route and a smuggling corridor, he learns how to track other humans under the punishing glare of the sun and through dark, frigid nights. He detains the exhausted, the parched, huddled children yearning for their families. He hauls in the bodies from where they have fallen. Plagued by nightmares, Cantu abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when a friend, a regular at the cafe where he now works, travels back to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantu discovers that the border and its stories have migrated with him. Searing and unforgettable, The Line Becomes a River brings home to us the destruction that US policy inflicts on countless migrants' lives, and the violence it wreaks on the humanity of us all.
About the Author
FRANCISCO CANTU is an author and translator with an MFA in nonfiction from the University of Arizona. His essays and translations appear frequently in Guernica and his work can also be found in Best American Essays 2016, Ploughshares, Orion, and Public Books, where he serves as a contributing editor. A Fulbright fellow, Cantu also served as an agent for the United States Border Patrol from 2008 to 2012, working in the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.