The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the US-Mexico Border
Cantú is a former Fulbright fellow and recipient of a Pushcart Prize and 2017 Whiting Award. His writing and translations have appeared in “Best American Essays,” “Harpers,” “n+1,” “Orion,” and “Guernica.” His work has also been featured on “This American Life.” The Line Becomes a River was recently named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Raised in the Southwest, and a student of US/Mexico relations, Francisco Cantú wanted to see the realities of the border up-close. He enlisted as a US border patrol agent in 2008 and spent the next four years working in the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. During blistering days and frigid nights, he and his partners apprehended migrants who were risking their lives to cross to a new country. Haunted by his interactions with border-crossers and rattled by an inescapable proximity to violence, Cantú decided to return to civilian life, only to discover that the border had followed him home. When an immigrant friend traveled back to Mexico to visit his dying mother and didn’t return, Cantú found himself moved to uncover the entire story. His searing memoir, The Line Becomes a River depicts the cruelties the border creates, for Americans and Mexicans on both sides of the line.
Cantú’s reading will be followed by a conversation with Gustavo Quintero, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities with the Department of Hispanic Studies and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Brown.
Book signing at 7:00 pm