The Guardians (Novel 2007)
From American Book Award-winning author Ana Castillo comes a suspenseful, moving new novel about a sensuous, smart, and fiercely independent woman. Eking out a living as a teacher’s aide in a small New Mexican border town, Tía Regina is also raising her teenage nephew, Gabo, a hardworking boy who has entered the country illegally and aspires to the priesthood. When Gabo’s father, Rafa, disappears while crossing over from Mexico, Regina fears the worst.
After several days of waiting and with an ominous phone call from a woman who may be connected to a smuggling ring, Regina and Gabo resolve to find Rafa. Help arrives in the form of Miguel, an amorous, recently divorced history teacher; Miguel’s gregarious abuelo Milton; a couple of Gabo’s gangbanger classmates; and a priest of wayward faith. Between the ruthless “coyotes” who exploit Mexicans while smuggling them to America and the border officials who are out to arrest and deport the illegal immigrants, looming threat is a constant companion on the journey.
Ana Castillo brilliantly evokes the beautiful, stark desert landscape and creates vivid characters with strong voices and resilient hearts. “Like Sandra Cisneros’s acclaimed The House on Mango Street,” wrote Barbara Kingsolver when reviewing So Far from God, “Castillo’s writing is seasoned with Mexican aphorisms [and] rich symbolism. . . . Impossible to resist.” The Guardians serves as a remarkable testament to enduring faith, family bonds, cultural pride, and the human experience.
Praise for The Guardians:
“The Guardians is a rollicking read, with jokes and suspense and joy rides and hearts breaking, mending and breaking again. It has…a deeply rooted urgency, expressed with a compelling mix of bruised indignation and bemused tenderness….This smart, passionate novel deserves a wide audience.” — Los Angeles Times
“Timely and highly readable….Castillo’s most important accomplishment in The Guardians is to give a unique literary voice to questions about what makes up a ‘family,’ Mexican-American or otherwise, where an independent soul can find redemption, particularly in a hostile world, and how we can realistically find ‘faith,’ if we can find it at all, after we have suffered through our personal and political histories, and are still standing on this earth. This is a wonderful novel that does justice to life on the Mexican-American border.” — El Paso Times
“Only a gifted storyteller could portray one family’s tragic struggle to overcome the barriers between nationality and dignity in a way that makes her cause own own. Does Castillo do this? Claro que si.” — New York Daily News
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