Antonio's Gun and Delfino's Dream: True Tales of Mexican Migration
This is journalist Sam Quinones' classic collection of nonfiction tales about Mexican immigrants, the border, and more.
A dazzling follow-up to his cult classic, True Tales from Another Mexico: The Lynch Mob, the Popsicle Kings, Chalino and the Bronx.
The stories begin with a tale that could have been plucked from The Godfather - of a man who in the 1920s heads north to buy a gun to avenge his father's murder. Quinones continues with deftly told stories that are at once strange, magnificent, and reflect the complicated odyssey - the energy and the costs - of Mexicans into the United States, and of their return home.
Quinones chronicles the tale of the Tomato King, of a high-school soccer season in Kansas, and of Mexican corruption in a small LA County town.
He narrates the saga of the Henry Ford of Velvet Painting, and of how an opera scene emerged in Tijuana, and how a Zacatecan taco empire formed in Chicago.
Threading through the book are three tales of a modern Mexican Huck Finn. Quinones ends the collection in a chapter called "Leaving Mexico" with his harrowing tangle with the Narco-Mennonites of Chihuahua.
In its review of Antonio's Gun, the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review called Quinones "the most original American writer on Mexico and the border out there."
"Genuinely original work," the review went on. "What great fiction and nonfiction aspire to be, these are stories that stop time, and remind us how great reading is."
“Over the last 15 years, [Quinones] has filed the best dispatches about Mexican migration and its effects on the United States and Mexico, bar none,” wrote Gustavo Arellano, columnist of Ask a Mexican, in his review for the Los Angeles Times.
Quinones takes a keen look the migrant economy both the rural to urban flow within Mexico, and between the U.S. and Mexico in these nine skillful, moving stories. He devotes the first, middle and last chapters to Delfino Ju rez, a construction worker who left his mountain village in Veracruz to work at Mexico City job sites when he was 12 years old before making his way to Arizona through the Sonora desert, a journey that almost cost him his life. Delfino "wanted more from life than simply not to starve," and his pluck shines through the narratives that Quinones (True Tales from Another Mexico) layers with the sociological, economic and historical context of 60 years of immigration. Other standouts among these very fine pieces of literary journalism, include "The Tomato King," about Andr s Berm dez, a longtime U.S. resident who returns to his native county of Jerez to run for mayor; and "Delfino II: Diez in the Desert," a nuanced portrait of the human trafficking that takes place at the border. The jewel of the collection, "A Soccer Season in Southwest Kansas," depicts the sport's transformative effect both on the immigrant children and on the High Plains town.