The son of Mexican immigrants, Sergio Troncoso has a rare knack for celebrating life.  Writing in a straightforward, light-handed style reminiscent of Grace Paley and Raymond Carver, Troncoso spins passionate, thoughtful, and surprising stories that reflect his experience crossing linguistic and cultural borders. In his widely acclaimed story “Angie Luna,” the tale of a feverish love affair in which a young man from El Paso rediscovers his Mexican heritage, Troncoso explores questions of self-identity and the ephemeral quality of love. “A Rock Trying to Be a Stone” is a story of three boys playing a dangerous game that becomes a test of character on the Mexican-American border. “My Life in the City” focuses on a transplanted Texan's yearning for companionship in New York City. “Remembering Possibilities” delves into the terror of a young man attacked in his apartment while he takes solace in memories of a lost love. Troncoso sets aside the polemics about social discomfort sometimes found in contemporary Chicano literature and concentrates instead on the moral and intellectual lives of his characters.

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A graduate student at Yale, Helmut Sanchez discovers an ugly truth about his boss, a world-renowned German professor. In a letter written more than fifty years ago, Professor Werner Hopfgartner absolved Austria of any guilt for its participation in the Second World War.

What kind of sick mind would rationalize away the murder of millions of Jews, gypsies and other subversives, Helmut wonders. How can it be that he has been helping, and even admiring, such a person? As the young researcher continues his quest for answers in Austria and Italy, Helmut uncovers even more horrific facts about his boss, which fuels a dangerous obsession for justice. What will Helmut do with the truth he discovers?

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In the border shantytown of Ysleta, Mexican immigrants Pilar and Cuauhtemoc Martinez strive to teach their four children to forsake the drugs and gangs of their neighborhood. The family’s hardscrabble origins launch this sweeping new novel from Sergio Troncoso.

Over four decades, the family struggles to become American and yet not be pulled apart by a maelstrom of cultural forces. As a young adult, daughter Julieta is disenchanted with Catholicism and converts to Islam. Youngest son Ismael, always the bookworm, is accepted to Harvard but feels out of place in the Northeast, where he meets and marries a Jewish woman.

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“On good days I feel I am a bridge. On bad days I just feel alone,” Sergio Troncoso writes in this riveting collection of sixteen personal essays in which he seeks to connect the humanity of his Mexican family to those he meets on the East Coast, including his wife’s Jewish kin. Raised in a home steps from the Mexican border in El Paso, Texas, Troncoso crossed what seemed an even more imposing border when he left home to attend Harvard College.

Initially, “outsider status” was thrust upon him; later, he adopted it willingly, writing about the Southwest and Chicanos in an effort to communicate who he was and where he came from to those unfamiliar with his childhood world. He wrote to maintain his ties to his parents and his abuelita, and to fight against the elitism he experienced in the Ivy League. “I was torn,” he writes, “between the people I loved at home and the ideas I devoured away from home.”

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The historic events of 2001 in New York City send shockwaves through this newly American family. Bitter conflicts erupt between siblings, and the physical and cultural spaces between them threaten to tear them apart. Will their shared history and once-shared dreams be enough to hold together a family from Ysleta, this wicked patch of dust?

Troncoso writes to examine his life and to create meaning from the disparate worlds he inhabits and the borders he crosses. In his three-part essay entitled “Letter to My Young Sons,” he documents the terror of his wife’s breast cancer diagnosis and the ups and downs of her surgery and treatment. Other essays explore evolving gender roles and interfaith marriage as Troncoso becomes a father, he struggles with an uneasy relationship with his elderly father, and he understands the impact his wife’s Jewish heritage and religion have on his Mexican-American identity.

Crossing Borders: Personal Essays reveals a writer, father and husband who has crossed linguistic, cultural and intellectual borders to provoke debate about contemporary Mexican-American identity. Challenging assumptions about literature, the role of writers in America, fatherhood and family, these essays bridge the chasm between the poverty of the border region and the highest echelons of success in America. Troncoso writes with the deepest faith in humanity about sacrifice, commitment and honesty.

*Best Books of 2012 by Kirkus Reviews
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Southwest Book Award from the Border Regional Library Association
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Notable Book by Southwest Books of the Year
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Silver Medal for Fiction in the Nautilus Book Awards
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Finalist for Reading the West Book Award in Adult Fiction from the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association
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Shortlisted runner-up for biannual PEN/Texas Southwest Book Award for Fiction

*Best Books of 2011 by The Hispanic Reader
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Bronze Award for Essays in ForeWord Review’s Book of the Year Awards
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Second Place for Best Biography in English in the International Latino Book Awards

*Premio Aztlan Literary Prize for the best book by a new Chicano writer
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Southwest Book Award from the Border Regional Library Association

The other boys--Marcos and Francisco--toil in their father’s old apartment buildings, serving as cheap labor to fuel the family’s rise to the middle class. Francisco isolates himself in El Paso, while Marcos leaves for college but returns to become a teacher, struggling with a deep bitterness about who he is and where he belongs. Their mother Pilar clings to the idea of her family and tries to hold them together as her husband’s health begins to fail.

With a foreword by renowned novelist Rolando Hinojosa-Smith and comprised of personal essays about the impact of drug violence on life and culture along the United States-Mexico border, the anthology combines writings by residents of both countries. Mexican authors Liliana Blum, Lolita Bosch, and Diego Osorno write riveting, first-hand accounts about the clashes between the drug cartels and citizens’ attempts to resist the criminals. American authors, including José Antonio Rodríguez and José Skinner, focus on how the corruption and bloodshed have affected the bi-national and bi-cultural existence of families and individuals. Maria Cristina Cigarroa shares her poignant memories of life in her grandparents’ home now abandoned in Nuevo Laredo.

In their introduction, editors Sarah Cortez and Sergio Troncoso write that this anthology was “born of a vision to bear witness to how this violence has shattered life on the border, to remember the past, but also to point to the possibilities of a better future.”

The Making of an Anthology: Our Lost Border

Buy Our Lost Border: Essays on Life amid the Narco-Violence from:
Arte Público Press (1-800-633-2783 or 1-713-743-2998)
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*Southwest Book Award from the Border Regional Library Association
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International Latino Book Award, Best Latino-focused Nonfiction Book (Bilingual)
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Finalist for Nonfiction Anthologies in ForeWord Review’s Book of the Year Awards

*Bronze Award for Multicultural Fiction in ForeWord Review’s Book of the Year Awards
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Finalist for Genre Fiction in Housatonic Book Awards
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Finalist for Thriller and Suspense in ForeWord Review’s Book of the Year Awards
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Top Ten Best Fiction Books for 2014 by TheLatinoAuthor.com

Do you want suggestions for good books on Latino literature and Latino fiction?  Take a look at Sergio Troncoso's list of novels, short story collections, poetry, books for children and young adults, and non-fiction books at LiteraryLatino.com.

Also visit LatinoFiction.com, a bookstore featuring books on Latino literature.

But he isn't the only one who hates Hopfgartner. Regina Neumann, a colleague in the department, seeks to nail the aged scholar for his sexual involvement with young co-eds, a sordid practice everyone knows about but ignores. Hopfgartner has also left behind many former lovers and students. Award-winning author Sergio Troncoso has penned a suspenseful novel that explores right and wrong, good and evil, and the murky borders in between.