A prize-winning poet writes about growing up undocumented in the United States, recounting the sorrows and joys of a family torn apart by draconian policies and the one young man’s attempt to build a future in a nation that denies his existence.
It takes an intimate account like Marcelo Hernandez Castillo’s memoir, Children of the Land, to refocus our attention on what matters when discussing immigration reform—i.e., the person and their family ... Castillo shares with lyrical prose his family’s experience of hiding in plain sight and continually being separated by internal and external forces. He carefully balances multiple timelines, sweeping readers back and forth between past and present ... Castillo gets us so close to the struggle of living without a home and a fluctuating identity that he achieves a universal truth in his private experience ... Another one of Castillo’s gifts, along with sliding readers into his life with a selfless touch, is his ability to enter another’s perspective ... Castillo writes missing pages of humanity into the history books of immigration.
...a harrowing, heartfelt memoir about life in the interstitial spaces between countries, languages, cultures and identities ... The beauty of Children of the Land is that it’s a unique, personal narrative that is also universal. Hernandez Castillo writes candidly about his struggle to get a green card, the process of learning to cope with perpetual displacement ... This memoir is as timely as it is uncomfortable to read. Hernandez Castillo places readers on unstable ground and keeps them there. He writes bluntly and poetically ... Children of the Land bravely and honestly illuminates a world rarely written about with such liveliness.
The experience of being an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, written as a personal account, is seldom seen in American literature even though it is a reality for millions of Mexicans residing in the United States...The publication of Marcelo Hernandez Castillo’s Children of the Land is an excellent addition to this small but necessary body of work, underscoring the fact that in each such immigrant there’s a unique story that deserves to be heard ... is only one man’s voice, yet it amplifies the struggles and dilemmas that countless others have endured and will continue to endure, particularly during today’s political climate of animosity against migrants ... In this courageous memoir, Castillo lays bare his emotional truths with remarkable intimacy and insight. Ever the poet, Castillo can’t resist a lyrical stroke here and there.