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From This Wicked Patch of Dust (Camino del Sol: A Latina and Latino Literary) Paperback – 15 Sep 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press (15 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816530041
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816530045
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,267,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sergio Troncoso is a writer of essays, short stories, and novels, and the author of five books. Among the numerous awards he has won are the Premio Aztlan Literary Prize, Southwest Book Award, Bronze Award for Essays from ForeWord Reviews, and International Latino Book Award.

The son of Mexican immigrants, he was born and grew up in rural Ysleta on the eastern outskirts of El Paso, Texas. His first job was carrying live chickens from trucks to a poultry warehouse with hundreds of cages. He attended Ysleta High School, where he was editor of the school newspaper.

Troncoso graduated from Harvard College, and studied international relations and philosophy at Yale University. He won a Fulbright scholarship to Mexico, where he studied economics, politics, and literature.

He was inducted into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund's Alumni Hall of Fame and the Texas Institute of Letters. He is a member of PEN, a writers' organization protecting free expression and celebrating literature. In 2014, the El Paso City Council voted unanimously to rename the Ysleta public library branch in honor of Sergio Troncoso.

He is currently an instructor at the Hudson Valley Writers' Center in Sleepy Hollow, New York and a resident faculty member of the Yale Writers' Conference in New Haven, Connecticut.

Product Description


""From This Wicked Patch of Dust," Sergio Troncoso's new novel, is the story of the Martinez family; the parents who leave their home in Mexico in search of a new, better life across the border; their children - three boys and a girl - who grow up between cultures, who struggle to find, understand and ultimately claim their own place in this world. The novel's structure is elegant and seemingly simple - chapters arranged chronologically, snippets of life, at times fully dramatized in vivid scenes, at others condensed in efficient summary. The pages turn, the children grow up, their parents grow old. The bordertown changes. What is it to be American, Mexican, Catholic, Jewish or Muslim? What is it to struggle - for sustenance, for the freedom to choose who you want to be? Effortlessly, with elegance of style, Troncoso weaves a tapestry of lives, of human beings who by the end of the book feel not just real, not just intimately close, but undeniable, inescapable, a part of ourselves."--Judges' Comments, Fiction, PEN Texas Award for Fiction

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
In search of the American Dream 4 Jun. 2012
By WordyRene - Published on
Format: Paperback
Troncoso offers snippets of beautifully crafted detailed scenes into the history of a Mexican American family. With El Paso and Ysleta as the backdrop of this story, the book offers a blend of short stories in chronological form to showcase the tribulations of the Martinez family. It was easy to get caught up in the struggles of Cuauhtemoc and Pilar who were Mexican born and later became naturalized American citizens because their struggle is identifiable in any culture.

Coming to America so that their children would make something of themselves is just the beginning of a roller coaster ride that takes the family to Boston, New Mexico, Jerusalem, and Iraq just to name a few. Each one of their four children, Julia, Francisco, Marcos and Ismael go through own perils and questions of identity whether it be cultural, moral, or religious as they go about forming their own lives. They are four children with four different journeys and in the center lay all the love and teachings from their parents that bind them together.

This is really a story about a family in search for the American dream and how they achieved it and it was a page turner to the very end.

Well done Sergio!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A novel written with great skill and compassion 24 Nov. 2011
By Daniel Olivas - Published on
Format: Paperback
Sergio Troncoso's new novel, "From This Wicked Patch of Dust" (University of Arizona Press), has at its center the Martinez family that struggles to survive on the U.S.-Mexico border. Troncoso uses this one family to explore issues of assimilation, immigration, religion, politics and war. It is a story written with great skill and compassion, a story too often ignored or, worse yet, stereotyped by contemporary writers. One would not be surprised to see it included on high school and college reading lists across the country in the very near future.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A mexican american's family struggles and bonds 3 Oct. 2011
By Eva - Published on
Format: Paperback
I am reading this book about the author's Ysleta, which is a neighboring town of my own El Paso, Texas. It is an awesome page-turner. Every immigrant and those who don't understand immigrants should buy this book. It features the struggles of our families, and the bonds that keep us together and sometimes tear us apart. Brilliant book!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Authentic Story of Ysleta, Texas 27 April 2014
By Victoria Hawkins - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved your book. The ending was a surprise kick in the gut, though, I must say. I was surprised by how attached I had become to Pilar and how heartbroken I was at her grief. I wanted the story to go on forever. I want to know how Zahira is going to turn out. I want to know how Noah will turn out. I want to know if Julia will ever be reconciled with her family. Please keep writing.

Anyway, I can’t decide what I want to read next, The Last Tortilla, or the Nature of Truth. I look forward to reading more of this author's books.
Trancoso continues writing about the town of Ysleta 24 May 2014
By fragilefinger - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Moving story about a Mexican American family living on the border in a small town. The son goes off to Harvard. It seems very autobiographical . It's not great literature, but a good read, especially for readers with a sympathy for Mexicans and who are relate to the immigrant experience
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