Illegal- José Ángel N.
nationality: Mexico, undocumented
A day after N. first crossed the U.S. border from Mexico, he was caught and then released onto the streets of Tijuana. Undeterred, N. crawled back through a tunnel to San Diego, where he entered the United States forever. Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant is his timely and compelling memoir of building a new life in America
I'm not sure how to classify this-memoir? Essay? There are elements of all the non fiction genres mixed into this thin volume which packs quite a punch. I thought it was absolutely wonderful. N. speaks elegantly about all the struggles of an undocumented immigrant in the USA. There is a sparseness to his writing that renders the tension of being neither there nor here, the isolation of the in between. It is especially poignant as he speaks about his struggles with language. I guess I love immigrant narratives-the shadowy underland- in general but N.'s perspective as an 'illegal' is one that I feel like there needs to be much more of in the literary world. I admire the courage that it took to make it this far and make his voice heard. There's such a lack of national dialogue that allows for the individuals involved to have any say-they were classified as a problem long ago and thus are subject to political posturing more than people caught between a rock and a hard place.