Losing a child—whether to death, kidnapping, war, or other calamities—is widely recognized as one of life’s most traumatic experiences.
It’s a reality that Lilia and her husband, Héctor, know well. The story begins in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, in a remote village with few opportunities for economic or social advancement. Even as a child, Héctor wanted more, and this, along with a ferocious interest in seeing the world, motivated him as a young father to leave his family and undertake a harrowing journey to the United States as an undocumented immigrant. Jobs were plentiful, and soon after arriving he settled in South Carolina, where he found both a place to live and employment that paid a living wage. But Lilia missed Héctor and hated the fact that they were separated. This led her to contact a coyote and, with her infant daughter, Alejandra, in tow, begin the treacherous process of joining him. All goes smoothly until the coyote informs Lilia that she cannot cross la línea—the border—with the baby. He instructs her to turn the child over to an experienced trafficker and assures her that they will be reunited several days later. Suffice it to say that this doesn’t happen, and, as you’d expect, the impact is devastating. Is Alejandra alive or dead? How could she simply vanish? As the novel progresses, readers bear witness to the strain that develops between Lilia and Héctor and experience the stomach-churning agony of the couple’s multifaceted attempts to find out what happened to their daughter. As the mystery unfolds, the tension builds, and so do the risks taken.
A gripping and politically savvy look at the human impact of current immigration policy and an honest examination of the perils facing desperate immigrants as they travel north.