Our Lost Border: Essays on Life Amid the Narco-Violence
edited by Sergio Troncoso & Sarah Cortez, foreword by Rolando Hinojosa
A fascinating collection of personal essays by Mexicans and Americans about how drug violence has changed life along the border.
Category: New Titles, Non-Fiction/Reference
Published: March 30, 2013
Bind: Trade Paperback
In his essay lamenting the loss of the Tijuana of his youth, Richard Mora remembers festive nights on Avenida Revolución, where tourists mingled with locals at bars. Now, the tourists are gone, as are the indigenous street vendors who sold handmade crafts along the wide boulevard. Instead, the streets are filled with army checkpoints and soldiers armed with assault rifles. “Multiple truths abound and so I am left to craft my own truth from the media accounts—the hooded soldiers, like the little green plastic soldiers I once kept in a cardboard shoe box, are heroes or villains, victims or victimizers, depending on the hour of the day,” he writes.
With a foreword by renowned novelist Rolando Hinojosa and comprised of personal essays about the impact of drug violence on life and culture along the U.S.-Mexico border, the anthology combines writings by residents of both countries. Mexican authors Liliana Blum, Lolita Bosch, Diego Osorno and María Socorro Tabuenca write riveting, first-hand accounts about the clashes between the drug cartels and citizens’ attempts to resist the criminals. American authors focus on how the corruption and bloodshed have affected the bi-national and bi-cultural existence of families and individuals. Celestino Fernández and Jessie K. Finch write about the violence’s effect on musicians, and María Cristina Cigarroa shares her poignant memories of life in her grandparents’ home—now abandoned—in Nuevo Laredo.
In their introduction, editors Sarah Cortez and Sergio Troncoso write that this anthology was “born of a vision to bear witness to how this violence has shattered life on the border, to remember the past, but also to point to the possibilities of a better future.“ The personal essays in this collection humanize the news stories and are a must-read for anyone interested in how this fragile way of life—between two cultures, languages and countries—has been undermined by the drug trade and the crime that accompanies it, with ramifications far beyond the border region.
Finalist, 2014 International Latino Book Award for Best Latino Focused Nonfiction Book – Spanish or Bilingual
Winner of the 2014 International Latino Book Award in the Best Spanish or Bilingual Latino Focused Nonfiction Book category
Winner of the 2013 Southwest Book Award;
Finalist for the 2013 Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award – Adult Nonfiction Anthology
“Eye-opening collection of essays details struggles of Mexican and American citizens affected by drug cartels along the Mexican-American border. Oscillating between gruesome and hopeful, the collection…is imbued with optimism.”
“What has been lost is not a political boundary line between the United States and Mexico, but a 60-mile-wide cultural area above and below that the line; the issues raised by the voices [in this collection] reflect how and why that border has become a zone of fear, violence and bloody murder. A tough but eye-opening read.”
“Eschewing nostalgia and romanticism, these essays are less about offering short-sighted solutions and more about imagining long-term efforts to reclaim the vibrant border culture in service to the two nations that share it.”
SERGIO TRONCOSO is the author of Crossing Borders (Arte Público Press, 2011), From this Wicked Patch of Dust (University of Arizona Press, 2011),The Nature of Truth (Arte Público Press, 2014) and The Last Tortilla and Other Stories (University of Arizona Press, 1999), which won the Premio Aztlán and the Southwest Book Award. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College and two graduate degrees, in international relations and philosophy, from Yale University. He won a Fulbright scholarship to Mexico and was inducted into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s Alumni Hall of Fame. He lives and works in New York City.
Learn more at sergiotroncoso.com.