They Call You Back

A Lost History, A Search, A Memoir

Tim Z. Hernandez (Author)
Hardcover ($30.00), Ebook ($30.00) Buy
A haunting, an obsession, a calling: Tim Z. Hernandez has been searching for people his whole life. Now, in this highly anticipated memoir, he takes us along on an investigative odyssey through personal and collective history to uncover the surprising conjunctions that bind our stories together.

Hernandez’s mission to find the families of the twenty-eight Mexicans who were killed in the 1948 plane wreck at Los Gatos Canyon formed the basis for his acclaimed documentary novel All They Will Call You, which the San Francisco Chronicle dubbed “a stunning piece of investigative journalism,” and the New York Times hailed as “painstaking detective work by a writer who is the descendant of farmworkers.”

In this riveting new work, Hernandez continues his search for the plane crash victims while also turning the lens on himself and his ancestral past, revealing the tumultuous and deeply intimate experiences that have fueled his investigations—a lifelong journey haunted by memory, addiction, generational trauma, and the spirit world.

They Call You Back is the true chronicle of one man’s obsession to restore dignity to an undignified chapter in America’s past, while at the same time making a case for why we must heal our personal wounds if we are ever to heal our political ones.
“With an unapologetic humility, commitment to restoring lost dignity, and deep understanding of human connectedness, Hernandez is a model storyteller. Entrancing, reverential, and beautiful.”—Kirkus starred review

“With his deeply personal They Call You Back, Tim Z. Hernandez completes an ambitious and essential trilogy that has helped redefine the history of California’s Central Valley, and of the Mexican and Mexican American farmworkers who labor there. Haunting and beautiful, these works will stay with you long after you have read the last page.”—Héctor Tobar, author of Our Migrant Souls

“With mystical and factual intensity, the moving memoir They Call You Back is about individual purpose and collective heritage.”—Foreword Reviews

“Hernandez takes us on a poignant, eye-opening journey of self-discovery and historical insights, leading to interesting revelations and hard truths. A beautifully written story full of layers and complexities.”—Reyna Grande, author of A Ballad of Love and Glory

“Tim Z. Hernandez is one of the most soulful witnesses of our time. He doesn’t just voyage to the end of the earth for his stories, he steps beyond—invoking the spirits as he follows the blood. They Call You Back is the genesis of his artistry, as riveting as it is necessary.”—Stephanie Elizondo Griest, author of All the Agents and Saints

“Tim Z. Hernandez is on a quest. Through the lucid clarity of his transcendent prose, he is searching for the resolution of a tragedy and its players. But by transforming a forgotten news story into a vital living document, he is transforming us into the ‘storykeepers’ of our own myth.”—Octavio Solis, author of Retablos

“Tim Z. Hernandez's brilliance in They Call You Back is his keen eye as a master storyteller. He writes with precision and clarity, passionately and elegantly, to connect a haunting past with an unsettling future. They Call You Back transforms life into history, unfolding dark family secrets that linger in the collective memory of generations...a memoir that is as generous and humble as the people he brings back to life with his extraordinary words. Vivid prose, powerful read!”—Alfredo Corchado, author of Midnight in Mexico and Homelands

“In this brilliant Joycean work of memoir—the site being the agricultural Central Valley of California where white power dominates the majority of brown people—poet Tim Z. Hernandez tells stories within stories reflecting the trauma experienced in this setting that fuels both his passion and vulnerabilities.”—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of Not a ‘Nation of Immigrants’: Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and Exclusion

“In this shameful moment, as politicians, conservative pundits, and agenda-driven ‘concerned citizen’ groups endeavor to suppress the complexities of our nation’s history, Tim Z. Hernandez’s writing and its stalwart resistance to erasure proves not only timely but urgent. They Call You Back delivers a stunning rebuke to those who would deny the past and set us on an inexorable path to repeat its atrocities.”—Lorraine M. López, author of The Darling

“This is a story of the haunting of the living and the dead and the complicated and terrifying ways we deal with our trauma of living in a world of subjugated stories, lost voices, familial, sometimes our own, and the writers search to make sense of it all. In the beginning and end, this is a book that struggles, and at times reconciles with what it means to live in a world where “they” shape our sleep, our breath, our daily routine. It reveals the constant struggle of holding 'them' at bay and realizing that we were 'they' all along.”—John-Michael Rivera, author of Undocuments

"They Call You Back
is a necessary book at a necessary time. As the nation descends into divisive chaos, only unity can bring it back from the brink. Tim Z. Hernandez has a mission, it's been at the forefront of his work: make visible the invisible. Specifically, bring back from contemptuous disregard the Mexicanos and one Mexicana who were buried known only as 'deportee.' ”—Michael Sedano, La Bloga

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