I have never asked a bookseller for a book recommendation. Disclosing desires and expectations to a stranger whose only connection to me is, in abstract, the book, seems too much like Catholic confession, if only a more intellectualized version of it. Dear bookseller, I would like to read a novel about the banal pursuit of carnal desire, which ultimately brings unhappiness to the ones who pursue it, and to everyone else around them. A novel about a couple trying to rid themselves of each other, and at the same time trying to save the little tribe they have so carefully, lovingly, and painstakingly created. They are desperate and confused, dear bookseller; don’t judge them. I need a novel about two people who simply stop understanding each other….
- Valerie Luiselli, Lost Children Archive
…We order four hamburgers and four pink lemonades and spread our map out on the table while we wait for the food. We follow yellow and red highway lines with the tips of our index fingers, like a troupe of gypsies reading an enormous open palm. We look into our past and future: a departure, a change, long life, short life, hard circumstances, here you will head south, here you will encounter doubt and uncertainty, a crossroads ahead.
|At Chiricahua National Monument|
I don’t interrupt his story to say so out loud, but the word “removal” is still used today as a euphemism for “deportation.” I read somewhere, though I don’t remember where, that removal is to deportation what sex is to rape. When an “illegal” immigrant is deported nowadays, he or she is, in written history, “removed.” I take my recorder from the glove compartment and start recording my husband, without him or anyone noticing. His stories are not directly linked to the piece I’m working on, but the more I listen to the stories he tells about this country’s past, the more it seems like he’s talking about the present.
|art on border wall at Douglas, AZ|
Finally, one night, my husband spread the big map out on our bed and called the children and me into our room. He swiped the tip of his index finger from New York all the way down to Arizona, and then tapped twice on a point, a tiny dot in the southeastern corner of the state. He said:
Here, what? the boy asked.
Here are the Chiricahua Mountains, he said.
And? the boy asked.
And that is the heart of Apacheria, he answered.
|north of border|
|south of border|
The thing is, I haven't even begun to describe for you the lyrical beauty and the interweaving of life, literature, and documentation that make this book worth your consideration. Please give it a try!