March 17, 2021
High Country News recently featured an essay by Alberto Álvaro Ríos, author of A Good Map of All Things, published by the University of Arizona Press. A Good Map, Ríos honors his family between the chapters, but the new picaresque novel presents brightly unique characters who love fiercely and nurture those around them in a whimsical yet familiar town in the Pimería Alta
The High Country News essay, “In Nogales, joy endures,” Ríos shares a snapshot of his hometown, Nogales, Arizona, and the true joy that exists on the border.
From the essay:
“In all the talk of the border, that word is used as if it defined this place. But the far greater truth and the more apt word for this place is desert. It was true when I was growing up, and it’s just as true now. We lived in the desert more than, or at least as much as, we lived at the border. Nature was so often louder in its quietude than people giving orders in uniforms, or fences keeping us and the cows from wandering where we weren’t supposed to go. The border made Nogales a major international port of entry, giving us the foundation for produce and tourism, both of which moved through town, but the desert gave us actual place, a geography on which to stand and find a steady footing. For those who live there, the desert, too, has always been a place of scarcity, of sparseness. Making do with what you had was a regular way of life. It was constant invention.”
Read the entire essay here.