I ended up going with the audio book from The Seattle Public Library (Overdrive!) and listened to it over the last two weeks as I commuted on my bike here and there and as I made tables at Urban Reclamations. I am haunted, nostalgic, horrified and homesick. Not only did author absolutely nail the mindset, culture, fragrance and taste (I have no idea how he did this!) of indigenous Oaxaca, but he energetically tackled issues of national crises that plague Mexican identity- immigration, progress, technology, westernization, corruption and indigenous identity loss. Interesting to me, was the battle for devotion that plays out in the souls of the people between Virgins such as Juquilita or Guadalupe and the ancient religions of the Jaguar.
Why should you read it? Besides it being an thrilling and rich story? Well, even though the subject matter my sound niche, the situation is essentially human and we are all complicit in the deathly dynamic of our national borders. Perhaps you didn't know, but much of the fruit in the Skagit Valley, even in Washington state, is harvested by migrant farm workers- most of whom are from the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. It is a harrowing and humanizing window into the reality many of our neighbors know first-hand. Drink the cup.