Riverhead to Publish Former US Border Patrol Agent Francisco Cantú’s Memoir
Riverhead Books is thrilled to announce THE LINE BECOMES A RIVER, a bold and personal literary exploration of the US-Mexican border – its politics, gatekeepers, and victims on both sides of the line – from 2017 Whiting Award winner and former U.S. Border Patrol agent Francisco Cantú. Riverhead will publish THE LINE BECOMES A RIVER on February 6, 2018.
For Cantú, the border is in the blood. His mother, a second-generation Mexican American whose father was a border crosser, raised him in Arizona’s desert scrublands and the national parks where she worked as a ranger, driven to protect the places she loved. Haunted by the landscape of his youth, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. Stationed at the remote crossroads of a drug route and a smuggling corridor, he learns how to track other humans under the punishing glare of the sun and through dark, frigid nights. He detains the exhausted, the parched, the huddled children yearning for their families. He hauls in the dead bodies from where they have fallen.
THE LINE BECOMES A RIVER interlaces Cantú’s haunting personal stories with ruminations on the nature of borderlines, grappling at once with some of the largest political and social questions facing America today and the intimate stories of the hopeful and desperate who set out on a perilous crossing that many will not survive. Cantú challenges us to hear, absorb, and question the politics, policies, and ingrained ideas of borders that not only derail countless migrants’ lives and tear apart their families but do violence to the humanity of us all.
Cantú is an author and translator with an MFA in nonfiction from the University of Arizona. His essays and translations have been featured in Guernica, Best American Essays 2016, Ploughshares, Orion, and Public Books, where he serves as a contributing editor. A Fulbright fellow and 2017 Whiting Award winner, Cantú served as an agent for the United States Border Patrol from 2008 to 2012, working in the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.