"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."

Borges

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Across the Wire by Luis Alberto Urrea


Luis Urrea is a San Diegan who was born in Mexico. During 1978 – 1982 he worked in Tijuana for an aid group and wrote these haunting and beautiful essays for the San Diego Reader. I first read this book about five years ago and immediately afterwards grabbed everything I could find from Mr. Urrea. This book, as I understand it, is required reading for some Chicano or World Lit classes but it is not as well known as it should be in our community.

The first chapter, Sifting Through the Trash talks about the people that live near the garbage dumps on the border. He speaks of people picking through trash, finding pieces of meat that are not too rotten to eat. There are the people who watch the dompe, or junkyard every night to see what gets tossed that can be of use.

Urrea writes with beauty of the horror of such abject poverty just across the border away from the vast consumerism in the United States. He makes us appreciate what we have, and opens our eyes to what we take so for granted

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