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From the acclaimed author of Acts of Faith “A miracle You can hardly conceive of a affecting reading experience” Houston Chronicle a blistering new novel about the brutality and beauty of life on the Arizona Mexico border and about the unyielding power of the past to shape our lives Taking us from the turn of the twentieth century to our present day from the impoverished streets of rural Mexico to the manicured lawns of suburban Connecticut from the hot and dusty air of an isolated ranch to New York City in the wake of 911 Caputo gives us an impeccably crafted story abou Maybe a five star rating is one star too high but I live right in the middle of the area where all this unfolds This is a real place and many of the people you meet there are straight out of the book The week before I opened the book I was talking to a neighbor as a group of wetbacks went marching through the trees behind him Not too far into the book I read a description that matched that vision to a TCaputo mentions a restaurant called Santos in the village of Patagonia While eating breakfast I asked the waitress Have you heard of 'Santos' She explained that 'Santos' was now 'Mercedes' which I could almost see from my table not surprising as you can seen most of Patagonia from any other place in Patagonia The one thing Caputo does not mention is that Patagonia is a speed trap so if you visit be forewarnedThis may be a novel but the fiction is only skin deep Caputo was a former Marine Infantry platoon leader very familiar with conflict And he made his living in civilian life as a journalist With a little research you can uickly find journals with his reportage of border patrol ride alongs and his forays into MexicoIn this part of the borderlands half your neighbors carry guns and only half of them are crazy I can only hope Caputo has not mined out his sources here because Crossers reads like an intel report for new arrivals Akshyay Mulberry Vol.One reading experience” Houston Chronicle a blistering new novel about the brutality and beauty of life on the Arizona Mexico border and about the unyielding power of the past to shape our lives Taking us from the turn of the twentieth century to our present day from the impoverished streets of Six-Moon Trail rural Mexico to the manicured lawns of suburban Connecticut from the hot and dusty air of an isolated Como Abrir Mentes Fechadas ranch to New York City in the wake of 911 Caputo gives us an impeccably crafted story abou Maybe a five star The Harlem Hellfighters rating is one star too high but I live Longman Introductory Course for the TOEFL Test right in the middle of the area where all this unfolds This is a Mustard Seed Magic real place and many of the people you meet there are straight out of the book The week before I opened the book I was talking to a neighbor as a group of wetbacks went marching through the trees behind him Not too far into the book I Sekrety ewolucji, kochania i swawolenia read a description that matched that vision to a TCaputo mentions a Devils Gate restaurant called Santos in the village of Patagonia While eating breakfast I asked the waitress Have you heard of 'Santos' She explained that 'Santos' was now 'Mercedes' which I could almost see from my table not surprising as you can seen most of Patagonia from any other place in Patagonia The one thing Caputo does not mention is that Patagonia is a speed trap so if you visit be forewarnedThis may be a novel but the fiction is only skin deep Caputo was a former Marine Infantry platoon leader very familiar with conflict And he made his living in civilian life as a journalist With a little Die ewigen Toten (David Hunter, Band 6) research you can uickly find journals with his Jane Goodalls Animal World reportage of border patrol The Old Myers Place (Halloween, ride alongs and his forays into MexicoIn this part of the borderlands half your neighbors carry guns and only half of them are crazy I can only hope Caputo has not mined out his sources here because Crossers Portfolio Management Formula: Mathematical Trading Methods for the Futures, Options and Stock Markets reads like an intel I Survived Swiss Boarding Schools report for new arrivals

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Crossers

The dark truths about his fearsome grandfather a legacy that has been tightly shrouded in mystery in the years since the old man’s death When Miguel Espinoza shows up at the ranch terrified after two friends were murdered in a border crossing drug deal gone bad Castle agrees to take him in Yet his act of generosity sets off a flood of violence and vengeance a fierce reminder of the fact that while he may be able to reinvent himself he may never escape his historySearingly dramatic bold and timely Crossers is Philip Caputo’s most ambitious and brilliantly realized novel ye This book is a combination historical novel crime thriller romance but one that is guy friendly story of personal redemption philosophical reflection on our times The thing is it worksThe protagonist Gil castle whose wife died on 911 accepts his relatives’ invitation to come to stay at their ranch on the Arizona Mexico border While there he becomes embroiled in the schemes of drug traffickers the desperate plight of illegal migrants and a relationship with a woman who is also dealing with a lot of emotional baggage Ultimately he must confront the past in order to cope with the presentCaputo blends together a number of themes to produce a really good novel In the hands of a lesser writer some of the themes and seemingly stock characters could border on cliché the emotionally scarred man going into the wild to salve his spirit the healing power of love the gritty frontier ranchers the vengeful Latin etc Luckily Caputo is a skilled writer who is excellent at making these elements work He is an incredibly evocative writer able to make the reader see the sights and smell the smellsThroughout the novel 911 cast its shadow Through the character of Gil Castle Caputo muses on the ways in which 911 borders immigration and cross border crime are related and muses that ultimately the 911 terrorists and the narcotrafficantes are merely manifestations of the same monster Caputo tackles issues like the aftermath of 911 illegal immigration drug trafficking and the troubled relationship between the United States and Mexico – “so far from God so close to the United States” In a way Caputo’s use of familiar themes and character types serves his purpose These are all difficult issues that get people frothing at the mouth and which we as a nation are afraid to confront forthrightly and realistically By telling an engaging story he is able to get these concepts past people’s intellectual defenses so that they might engage them in a thoughtful wayI read this book at the same time that Arizona was passing laws making undocumented residency a state crime In the midst of all the overheated arguments on both sides of that issue it was good to read a nuanced approach to the situation While there are definitely villians aplenty most of the characters fit in the gray in between areas This book intertwines history in the form of Castle's frontier ancestor Ben Erskine with the present All of the characters have to deal with the blowback from the deeds of their ancestors For some such as the brutal head of a drug cartel or Blaine Erskine the brooding Vietnam vet who holds to his grandfather’s hard code of honor history or the skewed memory myth based on it is a constant presence One might say the same for the perpetrators of the 911 attacks Fanatics are often obsessed with a version of history It all made me think that while we cannot overcome the past we can learn to live with it Longman Introductory Course for the TOEFL Test ranch terrified after two friends were murdered in a border crossing drug deal gone bad Castle agrees to take him in Yet his act of generosity sets off a flood of violence and vengeance a fierce Mustard Seed Magic reminder of the fact that while he may be able to Sekrety ewolucji, kochania i swawolenia reinvent himself he may never escape his historySearingly dramatic bold and timely Crossers is Philip Caputo’s most ambitious and brilliantly Devils Gate realized novel ye This book is a combination historical novel crime thriller Die ewigen Toten (David Hunter, Band 6) romance but one that is guy friendly story of personal Jane Goodalls Animal World redemption philosophical The Old Myers Place (Halloween, reflection on our times The thing is it worksThe protagonist Gil castle whose wife died on 911 accepts his Portfolio Management Formula: Mathematical Trading Methods for the Futures, Options and Stock Markets relatives’ invitation to come to stay at their I Survived Swiss Boarding Schools ranch on the Arizona Mexico border While there he becomes embroiled in the schemes of drug traffickers the desperate plight of illegal migrants and a Leftover Dead (Trailer Park Mystery, relationship with a woman who is also dealing with a lot of emotional baggage Ultimately he must confront the past in order to cope with the presentCaputo blends together a number of themes to produce a Witcheskin really good novel In the hands of a lesser writer some of the themes and seemingly stock characters could border on cliché the emotionally scarred man going into the wild to salve his spirit the healing power of love the gritty frontier The Witches ranchers the vengeful Latin etc Luckily Caputo is a skilled writer who is excellent at making these elements work He is an incredibly evocative writer able to make the A Year in the Merde reader see the sights and smell the smellsThroughout the novel 911 cast its shadow Through the character of Gil Castle Caputo muses on the ways in which 911 borders immigration and cross border crime are Jack Glass related and muses that ultimately the 911 terrorists and the narcotrafficantes are merely manifestations of the same monster Caputo tackles issues like the aftermath of 911 illegal immigration drug trafficking and the troubled Splinter relationship between the United States and Mexico – “so far from God so close to the United States” In a way Caputo’s use of familiar themes and character types serves his purpose These are all difficult issues that get people frothing at the mouth and which we as a nation are afraid to confront forthrightly and Gilchrist: A Novel realistically By telling an engaging story he is able to get these concepts past people’s intellectual defenses so that they might engage them in a thoughtful wayI Wired for Culture read this book at the same time that Arizona was passing laws making undocumented Archangels War (Guild Hunter, residency a state crime In the midst of all the overheated arguments on both sides of that issue it was good to Breed of Innocence (The Breed Chronicles read a nuanced approach to the situation While there are definitely villians aplenty most of the characters fit in the gray in between areas This book intertwines history in the form of Castle's frontier ancestor Ben Erskine with the present All of the characters have to deal with the blowback from the deeds of their ancestors For some such as the brutal head of a drug cartel or Blaine Erskine the brooding Vietnam vet who holds to his grandfather’s hard code of honor history or the skewed memory myth based on it is a constant presence One might say the same for the perpetrators of the 911 attacks Fanatics are often obsessed with a version of history It all made me think that while we cannot overcome the past we can learn to live with it

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T three generations of an Arizona family forced to confront the violence and loss that have become its inheritanceWhen Gil Castle loses his wife in the Twin Tower attacks he retreats to his family’s sprawling homestead in a remote corner of the Southwest Consumed by grief he has to find a way to live with his loss in this strange forsaken part of the country where drug lords have power than police and violence is a constant presence But it is also a world of vast open spaces where Castle begins to rebuild his belief in the potential for happiness until he starts to uncover This thing is only a little weightier than some throw away romance novel Way too much of the author's personal beliefs filtered through his one dimensional fictional characters This was sent to me by one of my book clubs and I had high hopes What a letdown From the Jackie Collins school of writing I imagine


10 thoughts on “Crossers

  1. says:

    The novelist John Gardner put forth the notion that fiction should evoke a vivid and continuous dream In other words it should immerse the reader in a world that feels alive from the beginning of the book to the end Creating this universe be it one that looks and feels like our own or a totally different time and place is the challenge of the novelist I thought about this notion of the vivid and continuous dream while reading Philip Caputo's Crossers I'd never read Caputo never even heard of him actually until a family friend recommended him to me and loaned me his copy of the book This guy he knew what was going on down there before anybody my friend said The down there he was speaking of is the Mexican border and in that sense I think he was right The book follows Castle a minor titan of Wall Street who loses his wife in the 911 terror attacks Grief stricken and broken he decides to retire from his career in finance and retreat literally to the Arizona desert taking up residence in an old cabin on the outskirts of his cousin's cattle ranch There he discovers that the desert is a perilous place overrun with undocumented immigrants making an often deadly dash across the arid landscape and lethal smugglers toting bales of marijuana on their backs It's a world where minding your own business is a way of life and riding into the wrong canyon can spell disasterCastle's attempts to seclude himself are thwarted first by a comely female rancher Tessa and then by the inescapable blight of the drug trade which finds its way into the business of his cousin Blaine's cattle ranch Weaving the stories of several characters Castle Blaine their grandfather Ben Erskine The last of the great Western cowboys a double agent called enigmatically The Professor and the ruthless and erratic druglord Yvonne Menendez Caputo creates a compelling portrait of life along the borderCaputo's knowledge of the Arizona Sonora desert the ins and outs of the drug trade along its border and the incredible details of ranch life and the lifestyle of the working cowboys or vaueros as they are called throughout is beyond impressive Following the rich cast of characters the thoughtful widower Castle the man of intrigue The Professor the hothead Blaine was a delight To be pulled along through the dream or accurately the nightmare of this book as it slowly unfolded was a pleasureIf I have a criticism of the book it's that Caputo's authority is so great when he's operating in an area of expertise such as cattle ranching that when he ventures out of what he seems to know he sometimes strikes a false note One such example is a description of the crowd at an alt country show on a college campus He describes the students as wearing the sweatshirts of the university they attend This detail minor to be sure struck me as incredibly false At times the book's one true villain Yvonne Menendez felt a little too broadly drawn that she drifted into caricature Caputo does a great job of making most of the characters morally ambiguous and while he does his best to show Yvonne's motives deeply rooted in history as they are it came up just short of the kind of nuanced detail that I would wanted In short I was hoping for The Wire of the Mexican drug trade and it didn't uite hit that lofty mark And in a book of such impeccable detail the descriptions of the mesas and canyons of the desert of the birds and beasts who inhabit it are so obviously from life that these brief moments of unreality had the jarring effect of breaking the dream of the narrative of ripping me out of the world and making me think about the author And that was a shameThankfully those sour notes were few and far between and the plot is so compelling and so well paced that I can recommend this book without reservation To live there in the foothills of the Huachuca Mountains for a few weeks was a true pleasure and a terrific way to begin the year as a reader


  2. says:

    Mesmerizing blending of the past and present Caputo artfully alternates between the two Not sure which I enjoyed the tales of Castle's grandfather or Castle's present life but violence is the common denominator You know things are headed for a train wreck but surprisingly you think it might not be so bad Lots of plot paths I envisioned didn't happen and I was left surprised and satisfied with the ending Really not a thriller like Cormac McCarthy meets Larry McMurtry Lonesome Dove meets All the Pretty Horses Good imagery and description of the land The landscape is a character as well


  3. says:

    Maybe a five star rating is one star too high but I live right in the middle of the area where all this unfolds This is a real place and many of the people you meet there are straight out of the book The week before I opened the book I was talking to a neighbor as a group of wetbacks went marching through the trees behind him Not too far into the book I read a description that matched that vision to a TCaputo mentions a restaurant called Santos in the village of Patagonia While eating breakfast I asked the waitress Have you heard of 'Santos' She explained that 'Santos' was now 'Mercedes' which I could almost see from my table not surprising as you can seen most of Patagonia from any other place in Patagonia The one thing Caputo does not mention is that Patagonia is a speed trap so if you visit be forewarnedThis may be a novel but the fiction is only skin deep Caputo was a former Marine Infantry platoon leader very familiar with conflict And he made his living in civilian life as a journalist With a little research you can uickly find journals with his reportage of border patrol ride alongs and his forays into MexicoIn this part of the borderlands half your neighbors carry guns and only half of them are crazy I can only hope Caputo has not mined out his sources here because Crossers reads like an intel report for new arrivals


  4. says:

    Blurbs from Jim Harrison and Robert Olen Butler may give the impression that this is a serious novelappropriately heavy elements911VietNamImmigrationSenecaare undercut by lightweight characters suited to a Movie of the Week from the 1970'slots of mini series regulars like the Porsche Progressive who learns Life Lessons by getting Back To The Landthe fiesty Pioneer WomanThe Single Mother with a Tragic Pastthe Latina SpitFire and many including my favouriteThe ToughTaciturn VietVet who is bitter because They Didn't Let Us Winbutas a vaguely familiarmindless BeachReadit's not the worst I've ever read


  5. says:

    Admittedly this is the first I've read of Caputo's fiction I did read Rumor of War decades ago I chose this upon learning of an upcoming publication of a new novel that shared similar themes with this one and found this riveting Particularly in today's volatile climate regarding the US border with Mexico Vengeance that spans generations and twists that ensue make this an exciting thriller but it also contains a contemplative examination into grief loss and redemption Beautifully rendered characters populate its pages very hard to put down


  6. says:

    This thing is only a little weightier than some throw away romance novel Way too much of the author's personal beliefs filtered through his one dimensional fictional characters This was sent to me by one of my book clubs and I had high hopes What a letdown From the Jackie Collins school of writing I imagine


  7. says:

    How many pages does it take to say that Gil Castle was hurting and sad? Obviously it's than I think it takes


  8. says:

    The enormous malevolence of Sept 11 2001 still suats upon the imagination resisting our efforts to comprehend it Writers as various as Jay McInerney “The Good Life” Jonathan Safran Foer “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” John Updike “Terrorist” and Andre Dubus III “The Garden of Last Days” have tried working the events of 911 into their novels but most of these ambitious books were doomed to at least partial failure because our memories of the actual events retain an emotional immediacy that even the most skillfully crafted fiction can't approximateBut Philip Caputo's “Crossers” succeeds in part because it's about a man who recognizes that the imagination is inadeuate to comprehend evil For Gil Castle Caputo's protagonist the enormity of 911 is “beyond grasp – an insane act perpetrated by sane minds” Castle's wife was aboard the first plane that flew into the World Trade Center towers and the senselessness of her loss has left him emotionally crippled After pulling back from the brink of suicide he decides to withdraw from the sources that feed his memories and his grief – the home where he and his wife lived and the city where he worked and she died Castle who has made a fortune on Wall Street liuidates his holdings sells his house and moves to his cousin Blaine Erskine's ranch on the Arizona Sonora borderCastle takes this course not out of any mythic urge to move West – in fact he explicitly rejects it “It was important in America to move on to avoid living in the past That Castle supposed made him somewhat un American He could not help but live in the past; it clung to him like a second skin” And so he holes up in an outbuilding on Blaine's ranch nursing his grief and reading the Roman Stoic Seneca though he finds Seneca's counsel “there is such a thing as moderation in grieving” inadeuateCastle's grief will moderate though not without the hard wrenching away that produces guilt and pain because he is right about the inability to avoid living in the past The irony here is that the past that will intrude upon him is not his own but that of his family The novel begins with a story from the boyhood of Castle's maternal grandfather Ben Erskine who was once described as “the last ember of the true Old West” and as “an adventurer a soldier of fortune and a lawman who put about twelve men in the ground – the ones he didn't put in jail”As “Crossers” intermingles the stories of Ben Erskine and Gil Castle it becomes a novel about the intersection of history and the present set in a place where as Blaine's wife observes things are “like the days of Pancho Villa except now the bad guys ride Dodge Rams instead of on horses and bang away with AK 47s instead of Winchesters Cell phone on one hip pistol on the other The Wild West meets the twenty first century” The Erskine family's ranch edges up to the US Mexican border a barrier ineffective in stemming the traffic in narcotics and undocumented immigrants Castle is caught in the crossfire – sometimes literally – between people who run drugs and people who run people between law enforcement and lawbreakers and between cultures separated only by a boundary made visible by the barbed wire fences that deter cattle from crossing but not human beingsCaputo gives us characters with credibility and individuality even though we can see the Western fiction stereotypes underlying them the Tenderfoot Easterner the Rugged Individualist Rancher the Woman Who's As Tough As Any Man and so on There's even a Man With a Mysterious Past known as “The Professor” who travels between the two countries gathering information “I can't figure out if you're in this for yourself if you're a double agent a triple agent a uadruple agent or what” says one baffled lawman “I'm an agent of history” replies The Professor It takes a skillful writer to avoid falling into hokum with a character like that but Caputo avoids it narrowly He is a little less successful with his novel's villain the rapacious drug ueen Yvonne Menéndez whose son reflects “The only thing he would not put past his mother was cannibalism” Caputo takes the character so far over the top that the reader probably won't put even that past herSimilarly Caputo's plotting has elements of conventional fiction Castle's healing process is accelerated when he falls in love again and the novel climaxes in a rush of thriller type action But the book manages to rise above its generic elements Without any ripped from the headlines artifice “Crossers” gives us an intense clear sighted account of the times in which we live of 911 the Ira war the “war on drugs” and the conflict over illegal immigration Caputo succeeds in showing how our contemporary paranoia and homeland insecurity are rooted in the inescapable past


  9. says:

    This book is a combination historical novel crime thriller romance but one that is guy friendly story of personal redemption philosophical reflection on our times The thing is it worksThe protagonist Gil castle whose wife died on 911 accepts his relatives’ invitation to come to stay at their ranch on the Arizona Mexico border While there he becomes embroiled in the schemes of drug traffickers the desperate plight of illegal migrants and a relationship with a woman who is also dealing with a lot of emotional baggage Ultimately he must confront the past in order to cope with the presentCaputo blends together a number of themes to produce a really good novel In the hands of a lesser writer some of the themes and seemingly stock characters could border on cliché the emotionally scarred man going into the wild to salve his spirit the healing power of love the gritty frontier ranchers the vengeful Latin etc Luckily Caputo is a skilled writer who is excellent at making these elements work He is an incredibly evocative writer able to make the reader see the sights and smell the smellsThroughout the novel 911 cast its shadow Through the character of Gil Castle Caputo muses on the ways in which 911 borders immigration and cross border crime are related and muses that ultimately the 911 terrorists and the narcotrafficantes are merely manifestations of the same monster Caputo tackles issues like the aftermath of 911 illegal immigration drug trafficking and the troubled relationship between the United States and Mexico – “so far from God so close to the United States” In a way Caputo’s use of familiar themes and character types serves his purpose These are all difficult issues that get people frothing at the mouth and which we as a nation are afraid to confront forthrightly and realistically By telling an engaging story he is able to get these concepts past people’s intellectual defenses so that they might engage them in a thoughtful wayI read this book at the same time that Arizona was passing laws making undocumented residency a state crime In the midst of all the overheated arguments on both sides of that issue it was good to read a nuanced approach to the situation While there are definitely villians aplenty most of the characters fit in the gray in between areas This book intertwines history in the form of Castle's frontier ancestor Ben Erskine with the present All of the characters have to deal with the blowback from the deeds of their ancestors For some such as the brutal head of a drug cartel or Blaine Erskine the brooding Vietnam vet who holds to his grandfather’s hard code of honor history or the skewed memory myth based on it is a constant presence One might say the same for the perpetrators of the 911 attacks Fanatics are often obsessed with a version of history It all made me think that while we cannot overcome the past we can learn to live with it


  10. says:

    It’s going to sound weird but I have to describe CROSSERS as the FX network’s “The Bridge” TV series meets Steinbeck’s EAST OF EDEN The 2009 novel depicts a bleakly violent border region and contextualizes events with a multi generational blood debt from the frontier past that must be paid in the present century A short time after 911 protagonist Gil Castle who lost his wife in the attack on the North Tower tries to isolate himself in a cabin on the vast cattle ranch belonging to his cowboy cousin Blaine Erskine Doubting that he can 56 year old Gil wants to learn to “live with this pain that was like a chronic migraine of the heart” p35 However the Arizona Mexico border is afflicted by narco terrorism and beset by a nearly irresistible tide of immigrant “crossers” The other story threaded through CROSSERS is recalled from the early 1900s Ben Erskine who was Gil’s grandfather is a teenager when he kills his first man in the manner of the Old West As he ages and continues to restlessly seek violence and excitement Ben becomes “guilty of an unbending fealty to his own archaic code” p404 which he passes on to grandson Blaine a Vietnam vet Caputo is full of sympathy for the desperation of the would be immigrants from Mexico typified by the luckless Miguel Espinoza “Some of these crossers have stories that make ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ read like a comic book” p69 one character observes The drug trade is “market capitalism with the muzzle off” p135 There’s some really good writing in CROSSERS as well as interesting secondary characters My favorite is a synesthetic triple agent called “The Professor” who is in the employ of a narco baron and of government agencies on both sides of the border To him the human traffic heading north is the justifiable and historical inevitable “reconuista” on former Mexican territoryI hadn’t read Philip Caputo in many years but I admired A RUMOR OF WAR 1977 and INDIAN COUNTRY 1987 as chronicles of the Vietnam War experience


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