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Crossing Borders: Personal Essays by Sergio…
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Crossing Borders: Personal Essays

by Sergio Troncoso

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"Three of the essays in this collection are letters to his two young sons, documenting their mother's battle with breast cancer. He celebrates their life together while simultaneously contemplating a possible future without his wife. The letters offer an intimate portrait of a family in crisis and reveal the wife's ordeal and the writer's anguish. They also depict the complexities of a large hospital and provide a personal look into our nation's health care system.

In many of the essays, Troncoso focuses on Latinos living in the United States, shining a bright light into the dark corners of social ills and injustices that plague our country today. A champion for the rights of immigrants who have come to this country for a better, more prosperous life, he condemns politicians and politicos who reach back to "ambiguous and even contradictory standards, such as the Constitution," claiming their intent is to stop critical thinking, which he deems the measure of good citizenship."
 
“Troncoso’s essays are lucid, philosophical, and erudite without being condescending to the reader. Crossing Borders signals a shift in writing about what it means to be Chicano and a writer in the early 21st century.”
added by SergioTroncoso | editThe Packinghouse Review, John Olivares Espinoza (Jan 2, 2012)
 
"Sergio Troncoso's Crossing Borders: Personal Essays is an engrossing and revealing peek behind the curtain of one writer's creative process, development and struggles.

The reader is treated to crisp and evocative prose that wades into the murky waters of ethnic, religious and familial identities….

In three heartbreaking interconnected essays, "Letter to my Young Sons (Parts One, Two and Three)," he begins: "Two weeks ago, Aaron and Isaac, I learned your mother Laura has breast cancer." We are plunged into the world of surgical options, chemotherapy and physical therapy. Troncoso skillfully and in exquisite detail allows us the privilege of entering into his world as the disease affects not only his wife but also all who love her...."
added by SergioTroncoso | editThe El Paso Times, Daniel Olivas (Dec 4, 2011)
 
“Troncoso is at his best when he gets personal. In an unusually honest essay, he talks about an intense argument with his father. He describes how much he loathes some of his father’s characteristics, yet still loves him....Troncoso is an elegant writer whose work will make readers grateful that he writes his life down.”
added by SergioTroncoso | editThe Hispanic Reader (Nov 3, 2011)
 
“The frankness with which Troncoso approaches painful themes is surprising, as he does in the three-part letter to his sons in which he relates his wife’s battle against breast cancer....

It is these details that fill the simple and accessible prose of these essays with life, demonstrating how from such personal experiences emanate a universal message about what unifies us, despite our many differences.”
added by SergioTroncoso | editSpanish News Agency EFE (Sep 29, 2011)
 
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Book description
“On good days I feel I am a bridge. On bad days I just feel alone,” Sergio Troncoso writes in this riveting collection of sixteen personal essays in which he seeks to connect the humanity of his Mexican family to people he meets on the East Coast, including his wife’s Jewish kin. Raised in a home steps from the Mexican border in El Paso, Texas, Troncoso crossed what seemed an even more imposing border when he left home to attend Harvard College.

Initially, “outsider status” was thrust upon him; later, he adopted it willingly, writing about the Southwest and Chicanos in an effort to communicate who he was and where he came from to those unfamiliar with his childhood world. He wrote to maintain his ties to his parents and his abuelita, and to fight against the elitism he experienced at an Ivy League school. “I was torn,” he writes, “between the people I loved at home and the ideas I devoured away from home.”

Troncoso writes to preserve his connections to the past, but he puts pen to paper just as much for the future. In his three-part essay entitled “Letter to My Young Sons,” he documents the terror of his wife’s breast cancer diagnosis and the ups and downs of her surgery and treatment. Other essays convey the joys and frustrations of fatherhood, his uneasy relationship with his elderly father, and the impact his wife’s Jewish heritage and religion have on his Mexican-American identity.Crossing Borders: Personal Essays reveals a writer, father and husband who has crossed linguistic, cultural and intellectual borders to provoke debate about contemporary Mexican-American identity.  Challenging assumptions about literature, the role of writers in America, fatherhood and family, these essays bridge the chasm between the poverty of the border region and the highest echelons of success in America. Troncoso writes with the deepest faith in humanity about sacrifice, commitment and honesty.
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