Liborio has to leave Mexico, a land that has taught him little more than a keen instinct for survival. He crosses the Rio Bravo, like so many others, to reach “the promised land.” And in a barrio like any other, in some gringo city, this illegal immigrant tells his story. As Liborio narrates his memories we discover a childhood scarred by malnutrition and abandonment, a youth during which he has nothing to lose. In his new home, he finds a job at a bookstore, where of all places he begins to doubt the usefulness of words. He falls in love with a woman so intensely that his fantasies of her verge on obsession. And, finally, he finds himself on a path that just might save him: he becomes a boxer.
Liborio’s story is constructed in a dazzling language that reflects the particular culture of border towns and expresses both resistance and fascination. This is a migrants’ story of deracination, loneliness, fear, and, finally, love – a thoroughly contemporary take on the picaresque novel – told in sparkling, innovative prose.
Aura Xilonen is a novelist and filmmaker. She won the 2015 Premio Mauricio Achar for her first novel, Gringo Champion, published in Mexico under a pseudonym when she was just 19.