Children of the Land

Harper. Jan. 2020. 384p. ed. by Hernandez Castillo, Marcelo. ISBN 9780062825599. $28.99. SOC SCI
Poet and activist Castillo's artistic family memoir takes place largely away from the U.S.-Mexico border, but in a social and emotional world where the border is always present. In short chapters traversing time and space, Castillo writes of his childhood as an undocumented immigrant before DACA was implemented, presenting a powerful, kaleidoscopic arrangement of history and thought. In the lead up to Castillo’s own border crossings as an adult with green card status, readers meet multiple generations of his family. While the border is the site of recurring traumas, Castillo manages to draw uncanny powers of observation from its presence in his life.
VERDICT In large part an attempt to answer the question of how to create a landscape of memories divorced from spectacle, this inventively rendered memoir provides an intimate, important look at the immigrant experience, family and intergenerational trauma, and coping with the ongoing presence of uncertainty in one’s life.

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