Haunted by the Southwest landscape of his youth, Francisco Cantú joins the US Border Patrol, where he bears witness to drug routes, smuggling corridors, and people enduring blistering sun and frigid nights. He hauls in the dead, and delivers to detention those he finds alive. Plagued by nightmares, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life until an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return. His book The Line Becomes a River makes urgent and personal the violence our border wreaks on both sides of the line. A former Fulbright fellow, Cantú is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a 2017 Whiting Award. His writing has been featured on This American Life.
Acclaimed author Luis Alberto Urrea’s new novel The House of Broken Angels is the definitive Mexican-American immigrant story, at once intimate and epic. In his final days, beloved and ailing patriarch Miguel Angel De La Cruz, known affectionately as Big Angel, summons his entire clan for one last legendary birthday party. As the party approaches, his mother, nearly one hundred, dies herself, leading to a farewell doubleheader. Teeming with brilliance and humor, Urrea’s indelible portrait of a complex family reminds us of what it means to be the first generation and to live two lives across one border.
“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.”—Phil Klay on The Line Becomes a River
1:30 p.m. Explore works of art in the DMA’s collection on a pre-event tour themed on borders and migration.