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By the Lake of Sleeping Children

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By the Lake of Sleeping Children explores the post-NAFTA and Proposition 187 border purgatory of garbage pickers and dump dwellers, gawking tourists,and relief workers, fearsome coyotes and their desperate clientele. In sixteen indelible portraits, Urrea illuminates the horrors and the simple joys of people trapped between the two worlds of Mexico and the United States - and ignored by both. The result is a startling and memorable work of first-person reportage.

From Publishers Weekly

Sep 16, 1996 – Urrea has an almost evangelical zeal to communicate the sad lot of Mexico's "untouchable class," a border population abandoned by their country, at times by their own kin. This collection of repportage, like his Across the Wire, originates in Urrea's years helping California missionaries deliver food and medicine to orphanages and inhabitants of a moldering garbage dump near Tijuana. Here, people's lives are wholly delimited by this universe of decomposing waste. They mine their livelihood in hidden treasures--a can of food, cast-off clothing, scrap wood for a house. Passions fester and erupt; nobility and sacrifice coexist with greed, cruelty and rage. A dual government of armed toughs and community respect prevails. In 10 stark, intimate, riveting essays, Urrea passes no judgment, but attempts to show why his subjects risk all for the chance of something better across the border. Their privation provokes incomprehensible acts, incomprehensible unless one has been in their situation. Urrea has shared their lives and he emerges with strong opinions on those responsible for such misery, and fears of what it forebodes for the course of America's future. Well worth reading in our age of escalating xenophobia.

Customer Reviews

A humbling doze of reality.

I actually live in Chula Vista 2-3 exits away from the border and into Tijuana. I come from a humble home back in Los Angeles by my class mates standards I was poor growing up. But this book it gives you a harsh glimpse of people that are actually in all essence of the word poor. Such a harsh reality to have to swallow, I can't do it justice in this review. Read the book definitely eye opening and heart wrenching. I can't believe this all happens less then an hour away from were I live.

By the Lake of Sleeping Children
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  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Social Science
  • Published: Sep 01, 1996
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 208 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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