Border Child was a solid read. The novel follows Lilia and Hector, parents to Alejandra. A few years prior to the novel, Hector had traveled north to the USA from Mexico illegally and was going to send for Lilia. Lilia decided she couldn’t wait, so she found her own coyote and left with their infant daughter Alejandra to surprise him. In the process of crossing the border, Lilia lost Alejandra, which has impacted their relationship and their lives profoundly. In the intervening four years, they have returned to their small town in Mexico, and are raising a toddler son and have another child on the way. They receive unexpected information about Alejandra’s potential location, potentially changing their lives again.
I really liked the way this story was told. It’s told through alternating viewpoints, including Hector, Lilia, their priest, their neighbor, and various others. The story charts each character’s emotions surrounding the search for Alejandra, their feelings on el norte (the north), and their perceptions of Hector and Lilia’s situation. At times, I found the characters insanely frustrating, especially considering how naïve Hector could be. This kind of took away from my enjoyment of the book, but also made the characters more realistic people. You can tell from the beginning that no one is in an easy situation, and the things they do to deal with it are wholly human.
The writing in the novel was lyrical and beautiful. There are moments that will make you smile, and moments that will make you want to cry. Some of the most beautiful moments also have a tinge of darkness. You will find yourself invested in what happens with Hector’s search for Alejandra, and the choices he has to make as the truth is uncovered. I will admit that the ending did not entirely surprise me, but it was fitting, made sense, and well executed.
Overall, this novel was quite an interesting read. It had solid writing, and a good use of alternating viewpoints. It also showed different aspects of lives for immigrants than I had previously seen, particularly the reception Lilia and Hector get after they return home. If you like literary novels, this is a good read and I recommend it.
Note: I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Have you read Border Child? Thoughts?