A BARACK OBAMA FAVOURITE BOOK OF 2020
A New York Times best book of 2020
One of the first undocumented immigrants to graduate from Harvard reveals the hidden lives of her fellow undocumented Americans.
Right after the election of 2016, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio realized the story she’d tried to steer clear of was the only one she wanted to tell. So she wrote her immigration lawyer’s phone number on her hand and embarked on a trip across the country to tell the stories of her fellow undocumented immigrants – and to find the hidden key to her own.
In her incandescent, relentlessly probing voice, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio combines sensitive reporting and powerful personal narratives to bring to light remarkable stories of resilience, madness, and death. She finds the singular, effervescent characters across the nation often reduced in the media to political pawns or nameless laborers.
The stories she tells are not deferential or naively inspirational but show the love, magic, heartbreak, insanity, and vulgarity that infuse the day-to-day lives of her subjects. And through it all we see the author grappling with the biggest questions of love, duty, family, and survival.
Shortlisted for a National Book Award, a National Book Critics’ Circle Award and an L.A. Times Book Prize