The Bodley Head is publishing the memoir of a former US border patrol agent, Francisco Cantú, to explore the politics and experience of gatekeepers and victims on both sides of the US-Mexican border.
Publishing in March 2018, The Line Becomes a River will interlace personal stories and ruminate on the nature of borderlines, grappling with big polticial and social questions facing America today. It is authored by Cantú, winner of the America's 2017 Whiting Award for emerging writers in fiction, who was raised in Arizona’s desert scrublands and the national parks where she worked as a ranger before joining the border patrol. In his role as a border patrol agent, from 2008 to 2012, Cantú worked in the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, stationed at the remote crossroads of a drug route and smuggling corridor, where he says he learned to track other humans, detain "exhausted, the parched, the huddled children yearning for their families" and haul in fallen dead bodies.
Stuart Williams, publishing director for The Bodley Head, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Fletcher & Company in New York.
He said: "The Line Becomes a River is a memoir of stunning intensity and range. The sense of place is hyperreal, but maybe this book’s greatest achievement is to be both about one specific, contested border and about humans living either side of any arbitrary line, anywhere."
Cantú, who is also a translator, graduated with an MFA in non-fiction from the University of Arizon and has had his essays and translations appear frequently in Guernica among other publications.