The author of Across the Wire offers brilliant investigative reporting of what went wrong when, in May 2001, a group of 26 men attempted to cross the Mexican border into the desert of Southern Arizona. Only 12 men came back out.
©2004 Luis Alberto Urrea (P)2011 Hachette Audio
"Superb.... Nothing less than a saga on the scale of the Exodus and an ordeal as heartbreaking as the Passion.... The book comes vividly alive with a richness of language and a mastery of narrative detail that only the most gifted of writers are able to achieve." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
A true story written like an angry elegy. Hard to listen to in parts, but that's the point. Urrea wants us to face into the reality. It's true, it really happened, and it's still happening. It is an important story beyond the US-Mexican border also.
Urrea is a novelist and essayist; this is clear throughout this story which is full of facts and analysis but presented with a storyteller's skill. The book won several awards and shortlisted for the Pulitzer. I will seek out Urrea's other novels now.
"Part Death Physiology, Part Tragic Poem"
Very graphic and not for everyone. Occasionally I'd have to switch the iPod to lighter listening, only to find it insipid, long for this horribly graphic, incredibly sad story and switch it back again.
This is one of many tragedies of 2001 that was totally eclipsed and further complicated by 9/11.
There is an interactive map and a few photos if you google the book title, as well as a National Geographic article available on the internet about one of the wildlife areas mentioned that I found to be excellent companions to this book. I wish this type of material was included as a PDF download in more audiobooks that have so much to do with a place.
There is also an afterward, consisting of an interview with the author and acknowledgements that gave additional context after the book.
Yes, I would definitely recommend this book. However, I would only recommend this book to a select group of readers who have an open mind and are searching for something a little different. I'm not too sure why I initially selected this particular download as it wouldn't have been my initial preference, but I had a surplus of credits. I'm so glad I picked this book. I am now googling the author, reading his interviews with Bill Moyers and now I'm hooked.
It's a haunting and harrowing read, much like Cormac Mccarthy's The Road. It's dark, gloomy, and in your face. While many readers get turned off with the grotesque details, I feel leaving out those details discounts the plight of the walkers and La Migra.
There were no favorite scenes, but I wish the author would have invested more time in doing more follow up research on the dead walkers, the survivors and the Border Patrol agents who played a role in the rescue efforts.
The Road to Perdition
Urrea's narration of his book was pure genius. His tone, pitch, mood, and command of the story was flawless. I stopped myself on several occasions fast forwarding to the key moments of despair due to the anxiety the was building inside of me.
I am using this book in a chicana/o literature program and it is by far my favorite book on the list. The author does a great job of narrating the story. This book is incredibly important, very well written, and a great listen. In spite of dealing with a horrible event, an event that is rendered with such a visceral realism that you feel you are dying in the dessert, it is still a well told, often funny, narrative. The story encompasses the complete experience of this boarder event and the people it involves. In fact, the empathy of the author for all who become involved is phenomenal. You get to know everyone in a very firsthand way: the boarder patrol, the immigrants, and the coyote. It is such an accomplishment.
"Dynamic informative true story"
Narrated by the author this compelling story is extremely emotional and eye opening. It will leave you in tears.
I loved this story. the reading was wonderfully clear and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has desire to read a harsh story with a great message.
"A compelling story about Mexican/US border cross"
I am a big fan of Urrea, and also of his excellent narration style. This is not an easy book, yet it really drew me in, as the author researched and brought to life the border crossers in this terrible tragedy, their crossing and eventual deaths by dehydration and heat exposure. He describes the chain of command of the border mafia's illegal crossing, from the guy who hooks villagers to take the risk, to the ones setting up the logistics higher up the chain, to the coyotes who walk them across the Devil's Highway, as well as the US and Mexican officials involved in border patrol. This book takes you on a desolate and yet compelling journey, well researched, and though so different from his other books, it has Urrea's skill of vivid descriptions and story telling. Worth reading for sure.
Slow start, but once the journey begins the pace picks up. The Aftermath (Part IV) introduces many of the complexities of the immigration story. A great read for someone with limited knowledge looking to gain increased perspective.
"not the best narrator"
disliked the narrator's annoying story-telling dramatic narration. the content i also thought was often repeated and beaten to death by his narration
"Horrific and gothically beautiful true account."
Read by Urrea this book takes on a Gothic veil, the desert and it's old gods inhabit an oppressive (due to heat, sun, plants, demons) alien world filled with white boned ghosts of modern and ancient pasts.
It is Lovecraftian in its descriptiveness and subversive prose, yet it deals with a plain reality the truth of our border.
Best audiobook I've listened to since Blood Meridian. Yeah, it's that good. Deeply researched account of an incredible story told from several points of view. Think you know who's crossing our Arizona border? Think you know our Border Patrol? Think again. Read with an open mind and it will break your heart. The story- like Blood Meridian stays with you.
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