Where We Come From: Book summary and reviews of Where We Come From by Oscar Cásares

Where We Come From

by Oscar Cásares

Where We Come From by Oscar Cásares X
Where We Come From by Oscar Cásares
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  • Published in USA  May 2019
    272 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

From the acclaimed author of Brownsville and Amigoland - a stunning and timely new novel about a Mexican American family in Brownsville, Texas, who reluctantly becomes involved in smuggling immigrants into the United States.

From a distance, the towns along the U.S.-Mexican border have dangerous reputations: on one side, drug cartels; on the other, zealous border patrol agents - and Brownsville is no different. But to twelve-year-old Orly, it's simply where his godmother, Nina, lives - and where he is being forced to stay the summer after his mother's sudden death.

For Nina, Brownsville is where she grew up, where she lost her first and only love, and where she stayed as her relatives moved away and her neighborhood deteriorated. It's the place where she's buried all her secrets - and now she has another: she's providing refuge for a young immigrant boy named Daniel, for whom traveling to America has meant trading one set of dangers for another.

Separated from the violent human traffickers who brought him across the border, pursued by the authorities, Daniel must stay completely hidden under Nina's roof. But when Orly discovers Daniel's presence, the two boys' immediate kinship - and shared desire for independence - puts them all at risk of exposure.

Tackling the crisis of U.S. immigration policy from a deeply human angle, Where We Come From explores through an intimate lens the ways that family history shapes us, how secrets can burden us, and how finding compassion and understanding for others can ultimately set us free.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Helping us learn the truth about who we are individually and as a society is the ultimate goal of this novel...In some ways timely, this quiet, delicate book delivers a truly timeless emotional punch." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Thoughtful and quietly suspenseful... With understated grace and without sermonizing, Cásares brilliantly depicts the psychological complexity of living halfway in one place and halfway in another." - Publishers Weekly

"In this gentle novel, Cásares has done a beautiful job...creating a vivid portrait of a boy caught between two worlds. The story is a necessary exercise in empathy at a time when there is too little..[A] heartfelt story about an intensely timely subject that demands attention." - Booklist

"A fantastic story of familial love that dares us to question the condition of our humanity." - Ernesto Quiñonez, author of Bodega Dreams

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Reader Reviews

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Sandi W.

mirrors today's true to life situation.
A topic very much in the headlines today - Immigration. Although this is a fictional story it mirrors today's true to life situation.

Nina caring for her elderly mother, gets roped into smuggling immigrants. Her God son befriends a young boy, who she is hiding and things spin out of control. Nina is trying to juggle the police, human traffickers, those she is hiding, her sick mother and her God son. Nina's mischief brings out secrets from her past.

This is my first book by Oscar Casares. I liked the book well enough to try another from this author, but would like for it to be different subject matter.

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More Information

Oscar Cásares is the author of Brownsville, a collection of stories that was an American Library Association Notable Book of 2004, and is now included in the curriculum at several American universities, and the novel Amigoland. He is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Copernicus Society of America, and the Texas Institute of Letters. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he teaches creative writing at the University of Texas in Austin, where he lives.

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