Synopses & Reviews
Over the past ten years, more than 4,000 people have died while crossing the Arizona desert to find jobs, join families, or start new lives. Other migrants tell of the corpses they pass—bodies that are never recovered or counted.
Crossing With the Virgin collects stories heard from migrants about these treacherous treks—firsthand accounts told to volunteers for the Samaritans, a humanitarian group that seeks to prevent such unnecessary deaths by providing these travelers with medical aid, water, and food. Other books have dealt with border crossing; this is the first to share stories of immigrant suffering at its worst told by migrants encountered on desert trails.
The Samaritans write about their encounters to show what takes place on a daily basis along the border: confrontations with Border Patrol agents at checkpoints reminiscent of wartime; children who die in their parents desperate bid to reunite families; migrants terrorized by bandits; and hovering ghost-like above nearly every crossing, the ever-present threat of death.
These thirty-nine stories are about the migrants, but they also tell how each individual author became involved with this work. As such, they offer not only a window into the migrants plight but also a look at the challenges faced by volunteers in sometimes compromising situations—and at their own humanizing process.
Crossing With the Virgin raises important questions about underlying assumptions and basic operations of border enforcement, helping readers see past political positions to view migrants as human beings. It will touch your heart as surely as it reassures you that there are people who still care about their fellow man.
"This is an extraordinary book about the courageous journeys of peoples crossing the U.S. & Mexico border—and about U.S. citizens who are erasing those borders with acts of mercy and defiance. . . . a page turner." —Demetria Martinez, author of Mother Tongue
"Trading off chapters, the authors deliver immigrants' stories calmly and objectively, but their compassionate message is clear, and especially timely in light of Arizona's controversial new immigrant laws. Though difficult to read, this important collection provides vital, humanizing perspective on a divisive issue, with stories that will stick with readers for a long time." —Publishers Weekly starred review
"Stavans's charming and erudite prose will draw in even those unfamiliar with his subjects."—Publishers Weekly starred review
"[Singer's Typewriter and Mine is an] eye-opening book-lover's book."—Ray Olson, Booklist
"This major collection of Ilan Stavans's shorter writings confirms his place as a premier interpreter of the Jewish experience in the Americas."—Philip K. Jason, Jewish Book Council
"A wonderful collection. . . . Stavans is an engaged cultural observer with a gift for the written word."—Sonia Smith, Association of Jewish Libraries
“In short, Stavans is an old-fashioned intellectual, a brilliant interpreter of his triple heritage—Jewish, Mexican, and American.”—Henry Louis Gates Jr.
"Crossing with the Virgin" collects 39 stories heard from migrants about the treacherous and even deadly treks they have made across the desert into America. This work raises important questions about underlying assumptions and basic operations of border enforcement, helping readers to see past political positions to view migrants as human beings. Black-and-white photos. 3 maps.
Firsthand accounts of migrants crossing the Arizona desert as told to volunteers for the Samaritans, a humanitarian group that provides water, food, and medical assistance. They not only offer a window on the migrants' plight but also a look at the challenges faced by volunteers in sometimes compromising situations.
A cultural critic of extraordinary erudition, encyclopedic knowledge, and boundless curiosity, Ilan Stavans, an Ashkenazic Jew who grew up in Mexico, negotiates wildly varied topics as effortlessly and deftly as he manages the multiple perspectives of a dual national, religious, and ethnic identity. In Singers Typewriter and Mine
, a follow-up to The Inveterate Dreamer
(Nebraska, 2001), Stavans interweaves his own experience with that of other Jewish writers and thinkers, past and present, to explore modern Jewish culture across the boundaries of language and nation. Juxtaposing the personal and the analytical, these essays and conversations take up the oeuvres of Isaac Bashevis Singer and Mario Vargas Llosa, translation and Gods language, storytelling as midrash, anti-Semitism in Hispanic America, Yiddish and Sephardic literatures, the connection between humor and terror, impostors as cultural agents, the creators of the King James Bible, and the encounter between Jewish and Latino civilizations, to name but a few of Stavanss topics here. Funny, engaging, and provocative, this collection continues Stavanss project of opening new vistas in our cross-cultural understanding of language, literature, and life.
About the Author
Kathryn Ferguson is a dancer, choreographer, and independent filmmaker. She studied modern and ethnic dance and music in the U.S., Morocco, and Cairo, and teaches dance at her studio in Tucson, Arizona. She has produced and directed two feature length award-winning documentaries, “The Unholy Tarahumara” and “Rita of the Sky”, and worked in media for PBS KUAT-TV for four years. Since the year 2004, she has volunteered with Samaritans to work on the desert to prevent deaths. Norma A. Price graduated from the University of Tennessee school of Medicine in Memphis, Tennessee, where she also completed internship and residency in Internal Medicine, followed by a fellowship in Hematology. Subsequent Oncology fellowships at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas, and Emory University Hospital and Clinic in Atlanta, completed her medical training. She remains committed to the work of Samaritans and other humanitarian and activist groups that focus on border issues. Ted Parks became involved with the Samaritan movement in the fall of 2005. He worked in the restaurant industry for twenty years including eight years as the owner of a restaurant in Tucson, Arizona. He is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and has appeared in numerous film and television roles. A founding member of The Theatre of N.O.T.E. he attended the University of California, Irvine and has produced, directed or acted in well over fifty plays. He has written or co-written three plays, numerous short stories and a novel.