The Life and Times of a Human Smuggler: Background information when reading In the Midst of Winter

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In the Midst of Winter

by Isabel Allende

In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende X
In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2017, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2018, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Natalie Vaynberg

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About this Book

The Life and Times of a Human Smuggler

This article relates to In the Midst of Winter

Illegal Immigrant in Trunk of CarWe have heard a lot about illegal immigration in the past few months – it is a hot topic of discussion and debate, vast amounts of time and money are spent on controlling, limiting or shutting it down across the border between the US and Mexico. However, there are many stories of migrants who make it across: Isabel Allende's In the Midst of Winter tells a fictionalized account of such a story. How is successful crossing achieved? Who are the smugglers making their livelihood on these dangerous journeys? Are they heroes, villains or something else entirely – perhaps simply savvy businessmen?

In her novel, Allende refers to smugglers as "coyotes," a term that is universally understood by all characters. Coyote refers to a particular type of smuggler – one who operates in the hills and in the deserts, leading migrants through the treacherous terrain. There are other names as well; pollero, for example, which translates roughly as "chicken hauler" a reference to the ...

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