"A young poet tells the unforgettable story of his harrowing migration from El Salvador to the United States at the age of nine"-- - (Baker & Taylor)
A young poet reflects on his 3,000-mile journey from El Salvador to the United States when he was nine years old, during which he was faced with perilous boat trips, relentless desert treks, pointed guns, arrests and deceptions during two life-altering months alongside a group of strangers who became an unexpected family. - (Baker & Taylor)
New York Times Bestseller • Read With Jenna Book Club Pick as seen on Today • Winner of the Los Angeles Times Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiography • Winner of the American Library Association Alex Award
A young poet tells the inspiring story of his migration from El Salvador to the United States at the age of nine in this “gripping memoir” (NPR) of bravery, hope, and finding family.
Finalist for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction • One of the New York Public Library’s Ten Best Books of the Year
Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence and the PEN/Open Book Award
“I read Solito with my heart in my throat and did not burst into tears until the last sentence. What a person, what a writer, what a book.”—Emma Straub
“A riveting tale of perseverance and the lengths humans will go to help each other in times of struggle.”—Dave Eggers
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, NPR, The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Vulture, She Reads, Kirkus Reviews
Trip. My parents started using that word about a year ago—“one day, you’ll take a trip to be with us. Like an adventure.”
Javier Zamora’s adventure is a three-thousand-mile journey from his small town in El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, and across the U.S. border. He will leave behind his beloved aunt and grandparents to reunite with a mother who left four years ago and a father he barely remembers. Traveling alone amid a group of strangers and a “coyote” hired to lead them to safety, Javier expects his trip to last two short weeks.
At nine years old, all Javier can imagine is rushing into his parents’ arms, snuggling in bed between them, and living under the same roof again. He cannot foresee the perilous boat trips, relentless desert treks, pointed guns, arrests and deceptions that await him; nor can he know that those two weeks will expand into two life-altering months alongside fellow migrants who will come to encircle him like an unexpected family.
A memoir as gripping as it is moving, Solito provides an immediate and intimate account not only of a treacherous and near-impossible journey, but also of the miraculous kindness and love delivered at the most unexpected moments. Solito is Javier Zamora’s story, but it’s also the story of millions of others who had no choice but to leave home. - (Random House, Inc.)
Javier Zamora was born in El Salvador in 1990. His father fled the country when he was one, and his mother when he was about to turn five. Both parents’ migrations were caused by the U.S.-funded Salvadoran Civil War. When he was nine Javier migrated through Guatemala, Mexico, and the Sonoran Desert. His debut poetry collection, Unaccompanied, explores the impact of the war and immigration on his family. Zamora has been a Stegner Fellow at Stanford and a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard and holds fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. - (Random House, Inc.)
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Poet Zamora (Unaccompanied) presents an immensely moving story of desperation and hardship in this account of his childhood migration from El Salvador to the U.S. To reunite with his parents—who left during the Salvadoran Civil War—nine-year-old Zamora was forced to rely on the help of coyotes to get to America in 1999. But, as he relates in affecting detail, the voyage for his group was perilous and trust was a rare commodity. What was supposed to be an easy two-week trip became a two-month nightmare pocked with seedy characters, days spent locked in various hideouts before moving, and a never-ending stream of promises shattered. Between dangerous marches through the desert and being caught at the U.S. border multiple times, Zamora's group was forced to depend on one another for survival. The surrogate family they formed offered Zamora respite from the despair, and he transforms the experience into a stirring portrait of the power of human connection. Rendering the end of their journey in a final heartbreaking scene, Zamora writes, "I can feel my heart in my stomach... I close my eyes and take a long sniff. Their sweat, the smell of loroco and masa, is faint, but it's them." This sheds an urgent and compassionate light on the human lives caught in an ongoing humanitarian crisis. (Sept.)
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