Jean Guerrero, Fronteras reporter for KPBS, will be at The Book Catapult on Wednesday, July 25 at 7:30pm to discuss and sign her new book, Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir.
Acclaimed journalist Jean Guerrero’s Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir is a beautiful and haunting narrative about a daughter’s quest to understand her charismatic, troubled, and elusive father, a self-mythologizing Mexican immigrant who travels across continents - and across the borders between imagination and reality; and spirituality and insanity - fleeing real and invented persecutors. Guerrero magically conjures the complex relationships that define families and legacy, but also offers a timely and complex exploration of immigration and borders through a family history that crosses back and forth between Mexico and the United States.
Marco Antonio was born in Mexico but as a teenager migrated with his large family north to California, where he met Jean's mother, a young Puerto Rican woman just out of med school. Marco was a self-taught genius at fixing and creating things - including a mythology about himself as a shaman, a dreamcaster, and an animal whisperer, rather than the failed father, husband, and son he feared he was. Before long Marco goes on the run from his family and responsibilities - to Asia, to Europe, and eventually back to Mexico - with long crack and whiskey binges, suffering from what he claimed were CIA mind control experiments. As soon as she's old enough, Jean follows.
Using her skills as a journalist, and her lifelong obsessions with the fuzzy lines between truth and fantasy, Jean searches for explanations for her father's behavior other than schizophrenia, the diagnosis her mother whispered to Jean when she was still a child. She takes his wildest claims seriously and investigates them. She interviews cousins and grandparents and discovers a chain of fabulists and mystics, going back to her great great grandmother, a clairvoyant curandera who was paid to summon forth voices and visions from the afterlife. She begins mirroring her father's self-destructive behavior in her own experiments with sex and drugs and her flirtations with death in jungles and the middle of the sea. She risks everything in her quest to understand and redeem her father from the underworld of his obsessions and delusions and self-destruction - to bring him back to the world of the living.
Jean Guerrero is the winner of the PEN/FUSION Emerging Writers Prize and is the Fronteras reporter for KPBS, the NPR and PBS affiliate in San Diego, reporting on cross-border issues for radio and TV. She has also worked for the Wall Street Journal, won several prestigious reporting awards, and has an MFA from Goucher College.