Decades of civil wars in Central America, combined with the need for manpower in the United States, have made the Hispanic migrant-worker a stock character in urban American life. This is the story of one such man, Calixto, who heads north “with his stomach empty but his soul full of hope.”
Award-winning author Bencastro creates a sensitive, caring portrait of Calixto as he seeks not only work, but safety from political persecution in his homeland. We feel both the heartbreak and humor of Calixto’s misunderstandings as a stranger in a strange land. Through a literary mosaic of conversations, court transcripts, newspaper clippings, and intimate letters, Bencastro allows Calixto and his fellow immigrants—who have come from Guatemala, El Salvador, and even further south—to tell their own stories as they struggle to survive in the restaurant kitchens, crowded tenements, and detention centers that become their proving grounds.