With Carry Me Like Water, Benjamin Alire Sáenz unfolds a beautiful story about hope and forgiveness, unexpected reunions, an expanded definition of family, and, ultimately, what happens when the disparate worlds of pain and privilege collide.
Benjamin Alire Sáenz—novelist, poet, essayist and writer of children’s books—is at the forefront of the emerging Latino literatures. He has received both the Wallace Stegner Fellowship and the Lannan Fellowship, and is a recipient of the American Book Award. Born Mexican-American Catholic in the rural community of Picacho, New Mexico, he now teaches at the University of Texas at El Paso, and considers himself a “fronterizo,” a person of the border.
In Perfect Light is the story of two strong-willed people who are forever altered by a single tragedy. After Andés Segovia's parents are killed in a car accident when he is still a young boy, his older brother decides to steal the family away to Juárez, Mexico. That decision, made with the best intentions, sets into motion the unraveling of an American family.
Years later, his family destroyed, Andés is left to make sense of the chaos -- but he is ill-equipped to make sense of his life. He begins a dark journey toward self-destruction, his talent and brilliance brought down by the weight of a burden too frightening and maddening to bear alone. The manifestation of this frustration is a singular rage that finds an outlet in a dark and seedy El Paso bar -- leading him improbably to Grace Delgado.
Recently confronted with her own sense of isolation and mortality, Grace is an unlikely angel, a therapist who agrees to treat Andés after he is arrested in the United States. The two are suspicious of each other, yet they slowly arrive at a tentative working relationship that allows each of them to examine his and her own fragile and damaged past. Andés begins to confront what lies behind his own violence, and Grace begins to understand how she has contributed to her own self-exile and isolation. What begins as an intriguing favor to a friend becomes Grace's lifeline -- even as secrets surrounding the death of Andés' parents threaten to strain the connection irreparably.
With the urgent, unflinching vision of a true storyteller and the precise, arresting language of a poet, Sáenz's In Perfect Light bears witness to the cruelty of circumstance and, more than offering escape, the novel offers the possibility of salvation.
Después de varios años de vivir en México luchando contra el estigma de ser un hispano nacido en Estados Unidos y sintiéndose siempre fuera de lugar, Andrés decide regresar a los Estados Unidos. Las autoridades lo detienen un día y lo ponen bajo la tutela de una terapeuta llamada Grace Delgado, una viuda que vive en El Paso. Su relación se convierte pronto en una gran amistad, y justo cuando comienzan a florecer y a disfrutar de su vida juntos, se descubren secretos inconcebibles acerca de la muerte de los padres de Andrés . . . secretos que bien pueden destruir la posibilidad que tienen de ser felices.
Told with raw power and searing bluntness, and filled with important themes as immediate as today’s headlines, Names on a Map is arguably the most important work to date of a major American literary artist.