Book Review: “HOMELANDS” author depicts immigration challenges through anecdotes of friends met in Philly restaurant

With the full title of “HOMELANDS: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration“, Alfredo Corchado is launching this novel on June 5th. After the success of his last book, “MIDNIGHT IN MEXICO“, this one is bound to get a lot of publicity in today’s political climate. As said in the press release, “HOMELANDS is the story of Mexican immigration to the United States over the last three decades told from the perspective of four friends who first meet in a Mexican restaurant in Philadelphia in 1987.”

A little bit about Alfredo Corchado; he is the Mèxico Border correspondent for The Dallas Morning News. He has received numerous awards for journalism, including the Maria Moors Cabot and Elijah Parish Lovejoy Awards for Courage in Journalism. This courage is noted, as he has been the target of death threats for years, along with many other reporters and journalists that cover drug cartels and border patrol issues. Yet, he continues to cover these stories that need to be told.

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Author Alfredo Corchado, Mèxico Border correspondent on The Dallas Morning News.

Unlike Corchado’s last novel about the Mexican drug war, we learn about the difficulties of immigrants coming to and staying in America, as well as the problems with border patrol. Corchado met Dave, Primo, and Ken in a Mexican restaurant known as Tequila’s in Philadelphia in 1987. Over the next thirty years, they continually meet to discuss their struggles with immigration. Corchado wrote, “That night we began a conversation that has lasted more then thirty years, turning on a fundamental and deeply personal question, how do we fit in?”

This book comes at a pivotal time in American history, when millions are demanding for a wall to separate the United States from Mexico and to deport illegal immigrants. Corchado originally titled his novel “Shadows at Dawn” to represent what is seen across the border. After the 2016 election, it became evident to his publisher and a friend that he needed to change that. His friend said “As Mexican Immigrants right now, you are anything but a shadow. There’s a big spotlight on you. You guys have been outed.” His friend was correct. The new administration was looking to make it impossible to be just a shadow in the night walking from one country to the next. This was the perfect time for him to turn his story into a novel for others to understand the journey.

Alfredo Corchado is a Mexico native, who came to the United States, but considers himself to be part of both countries. He has roots on both sides of the border and helps to create a narrative mixed with personal experiences and historical assessment.

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At an event at the University of Chicago is the set of friends: Alfredo Corchado, David Suro, Primitivo Rodriguez, and Kenneth I. Trujillo.

The four men all have endless stories of what it takes to make “The Great Mexican Migration”. They are trying to connect their Mexican roots with their lives in America. All of them spend their lives creating and becoming more than they think a Mexican-American can. David was the owner of Tequila’s when it opened in 1986 in Rittenhouse Square, bringing true Mexican cuisine to an area that had only experienced Tex Mex. He went on create his own tequila brand. Primo became a radical advocate and activist in both countries. Ken started The Food Stamp Clinic in West Philly after graduating from Penn Law School. He opened his own law firm, relaunched a radio station to be Spanish-speaking, and ran for Mayor of Philadelphia.

After meeting excessive rejection from individuals and the government, they prove that Mexican-Americans can certainly make lives for themselves on this side of the border. I definitely suggest this read to help understand how Mexican descendants help to shape America as a whole. After all, there were under a million immigrants in the United States in the 1970s. As of 2012, there were over 11 million immigrants born in Mexico and another 22 million born in the U.S. that identified as Hispanics of Mexican descent.

You can pre-order a copy of “HOMELANDS” from Penn Book Center!

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Alfredo Corchado will be in Philadelphia to launch his book tour on June 5th, before heading to Texas!

Alfredo Corchado will also be going on a National Tour in June and is kicking it off in Philadelphia on June 5th! The small launch party will be held at Tequila’s, where Alfredo met the three friends that remained in his life for decades.

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