“An instant classic. . . . If I had to recommend just one book to comprehend . . . the inequality along the border . . . this would be the one.” —Anis Shivani, Texas Observer
From a distance, the towns along the U.S.-Mexican border have dangerous reputations, 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. Nina, however, has a secret: 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 and pursued by the authorities, Daniel must stay completely hidden. And Orly’s arrival threatens to put 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.
About the Author
Oscar Cásares is the author of Brownsville, a collection of stories that was an American Library Association Notable Book, and the novel Amigoland. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Copernicus Society of America, and the Texas Institute of Letters. Originally from Brownsville, he now lives in Austin with his family and teaches creative writing at the University of Texas at Austin.
“Instead of being just a border novel or a novel about immigration writ large, [Where We Come From] becomes more than that: It’s a novel about the great lengths humans will go to in order to be seen.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Concise and thoughtful. . . . Cásares writes with a leanness evident in a short story, but the thematic content is grand and provocative.” —Houston Chronicle
“A story that transcends politics—a fiction to tell a truer truth. . . . A thought-provoking read from a master storyteller whose unrelenting realism is often heartrending.” —The Brooklyn Rail
“We need more border stories like this: insightful, compassionate, and not actually about politics or walls or you-know-who, but about humanity, family, and home—also known as the things that really matter.” —Lit Hub
“[An] instant classic. . . . Cásares tight-weaves his words together as if he were working a loom on a fabric that is guaranteed to last.” —Litbreak Magazine
“Well-researched, not sensationalized and related with a dispassionate yet tender voice. . . . Cásares’ narrative soars . . . with moments of humane beauty.” —amNewYork
“Through this deeply human and intensely powerful story of identity and family, Cásares beautifully explores American immigration and the power of compassion.” —Deep South Magazine
“Evenly and quickly paced . . . this novel is suffused with boredom and menace—twins of a fugitive existence.” —Lone Star Literary Life
“[A] deeply human novel. . . . Concerned with what it means to make a life in a place where so many systems and institutions are designed to make you feel precarious and, in some way, permanently unrooted.” —Omar El Akkad, BookPage
“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