Francisco Cantú

The Line Becomes A River
  • The Line Becomes A River

  • Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2019, an electrifying memoir from a Mexican-American US Border Patrol guard

    ‘Stunningly good… The best thing I’ve read for ages’
    James Rebanks, author of The Shepherd’s Life

    Francisco Cantú was a US Border Patrol agent from 2008 to 2012.

    In this extraordinary account, he describes his work in the desert along the Mexican border. He tracks humans through blistering days and frigid nights. He detains the exhausted and hauls in the dead. The line he is sworn to defend, however, begins to dissolve. Haunted by nightmares, Cantú abandons the Patrol for civilian life – but he soon faces a final confrontation with the world he believed he had escaped.

    ‘A raw, compelling memoir… An eloquent rebuke to all those who look to build walls rather than bridges between people’
    Sunday Times

    A must-read… A page-turning personal story that holds until the final page and wrenches long after’
    GQ

    Remarkable… Lyrical and moving’
    Guardian

Francisco Cantú was 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, a 2017 Whiting Award, and a 2018 Art for Justice fellowship. His writing and translations have been featured in The New York Times, Best American Essays, Harper’s, and Guernica, as well as on This American Life. He lives in Tucson and coordinates the Southwest Field Studies in Writing Program at the University of Arizona.


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