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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Line Becomes a River, written and read by Francisco Cantú.

How does a line in the sand become a barrier that people will risk everything to cross?

Francisco Cantú was a US Border Patrol agent from 2008 to 2012. He worked the desert along the Mexican border, at the remote crossroads of drug routes and smuggling corridors, tracking humans through blistering days and frigid nights across a vast terrain.

He detains the exhausted and the parched. He hauls in the dead. He tries not to think where the stories go from there.

He is descended from Mexican immigrants, so the border is in his blood. But the line he is sworn to defend is dissolving. Haunted by nightmares, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. And when an immigrant friend is caught on the wrong side of the border, Cantú faces a final confrontation with a world he believed he had escaped.

The Line Becomes a River is timely and electrifying. It brings to life this landscape of sprawling borderlands and the countless people who risk their lives to cross it. Yet it takes us beyond one person's experience to reveal truths about life on either side of an arbitrary line, wherever it is.

©2018 Francisco Cantú (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Stunningly good. Beautiful, smart, raw, sad, poetic and humane.... It's the best thing I've read for ages." (James Rebanks, author of The Shepherd's Life)

What members say

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interesting

I was moved to tears by bits of this thoughtful book. And I loved the view he offered from both sides.

I was troubled though by the authors lack of consideration of one of the key issues around the border. That of if there are legitimate reasons why Americans would not want to allow everyone in Mexico or indeed the world to come to the US.

He never seems to consider this point but it is key. However fact it actually explains why the hard line approach to immigration is popular in the US and the west as a whole.

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  • Jack Williamson
  • 04-06-2018

Compassionate and humane...

Francisco Cantú is a third-generation Mexican-American who worked as a US Border Patrol agent for almost four years. Subverting the stereotype somewhat, he is compassionate and empathetic towards the ‘crossers’ he encounters (and is forced to detain); and his sleep is increasingly plagued with hyper-realistic nightmares triggered by internal conflict. His prose is lyrical, beautiful and dream-like and the book is peppered with statistics and historical context, so I really learned a lot about life both sides of the border. The final third, where he details the tragic case of a close friend being deported away from his wife and children is heartbreaking – and illustrates the need for stories about those who are often voiceless to be humanely told.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sock 79
  • 25-04-2018

Superb and important book

Insightful, interesting, and at times poetic book, by a great, humane new writing talent. This book is a must-listen for anyone interested in modern US or Mexican politics, the southwest US, or simply well-written, atmospheric, moving literature. Excellent book. Highly recommend.

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  • Chris F
  • 21-03-2018

Moving but sometimes feels like an essay

The story begins strongly, with the author's service in immigration/border patrol. The mid section of the book feels like there are too many quotes from other writings and it sounds more like an essay than a book. There seems to be more dream description than writing about real life too.

A narrative appears again in the final third, although it left me wanting more.