The Line Becomes A River

Author(s): Francisco Cantú

Autobiography and Biography

"A beautiful, fiercely honest, and nevertheless deeply empathetic look at those who police the border and the migrants who risk - and lose - their lives crossing it. In a time of often ill-informed or downright deceitful political rhetoric, this book is an invaluable corrective."
--Phil Klay


For Francisco Cantú, the border is in the blood. His mother, a second-generation Mexican American, 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, huddled children yearning for their families. He hauls in the bodies from where they have fallen.

Plagued by nightmares, Cantú abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when a friend, a regular at the café where he now works, travels back to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantu discovers that the border and its stories have migrated with him. Searing and unforgettable, The Line Becomes a River brings home to us the destruction that US policy inflicts on countless migrants' lives, and the violence it wreaks on the humanity of us all.


Product Information

"This book tells the hard poetry of the desert heart. If you think you know about immigration and the border, you will see there is much to learn. And you will be moved by its unexpected music" -- Luis Alberto Urrea, author of THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY "Cantu's story, and intelligent and humane perspective, should mortify anyone who ever thought building a wall might improve our lot. He advocates for clarity and compassion in place of xenophobia and uninformed rhetoric. His words are emotionally true and his literary sensibility uplifting" -- Barry Lopez, author of ARCTIC DREAMS and OF WOLVES AND MEN "A beautiful, fiercely honest, and nevertheless deeply empathetic look at those who police the border and the migrants who risk - and lose -- their lives crossing it. In a time of often ill-informed or downright deceitful political rhetoric, this book is an invaluable corrective" -- Phil Klay, author of REDEPLOYMENT

Francisco Cant. served as an agent for the United States Border Patrol from 2008 to 2012, working in the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. A former Fulbright fellow, he is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a 2017 Whiting Award. His writing and translations have been featured in The Best American Essays, Harper's, n+1, Orion, and Guernica, as well as on This American Life. He lives in Tucson.

General Fields

  • : 9781847925220
  • : Random House Children's Books
  • : Bodley Head Childrens
  • : February 2018
  • : 216mm X 135mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : February 2018
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 363.285092
  • : 256
  • : Francisco Cantú
  • : Paperback
  • : English