Sergio Troncoso

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El Paso, Texas, The United States
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May 2010


Sergio Troncoso is a writer of essays, short stories, and novels. He often writes about the United States-Mexico border, immigration, philosophy in literature, families and fatherhood, and crossing cultural, religious, and psychological borders. Among the numerous awards he has won are the Premio Aztlan Literary Prize, Southwest Book Award, Bronze Award for Essays from ForeWord Reviews, International Latino Book Award, and Bronze Award for Multicultural Fiction from ForeWord Reviews.

For many years, Troncoso has taught at the Yale Writers' Workshop in New Haven, Connecticut and the Hudson Valley Writers' Center in Sleepy Hollow, New York. He has served as a judge for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the New Letters Literary Awards in t
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Sergio Troncoso At the moment it is Aristotle and Dante in Benjamin Saenz's Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. This couple is about friendship…moreAt the moment it is Aristotle and Dante in Benjamin Saenz's Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. This couple is about friendship most of all, and how that friendship endures pain and discovery and finally self-realization for both men. I found the prose beautifully written and the characters engaging. The book brought me to El Paso, my hometown, and it brought me to my youth in Ysleta, the weird sense of not knowing who you are or who you want to be, or whether any of it matters at all. I lost myself in this novel and in Aristotle and Dante's relationship, and through their interactions and dialogue I felt I got to know them, and myself, and the many secrets we keep inside, sometimes for a lifetime.(less)
Sergio Troncoso The best thing about being a writer is that you get to live the life of the mind, you get to explore your ideas in books, and you get to empathize…moreThe best thing about being a writer is that you get to live the life of the mind, you get to explore your ideas in books, and you get to empathize with characters who are often very different from you.

I think you have to be very self-motivated as a writer. I was always a loner and actually enjoy being alone reading books, creating stories, imagining other worlds. So having a life that allows me to do that most of the time is a dream. I think you have to be a hard worker as a writer. You need to improve your craft, to question yourself and never be quite content with your literary skills.

Another wonderful thing about being a writer is finding those readers who truly take the time to read and reread your stories, to understand them and dig deep into them. When you find one of those readers, or they find you, then you feel as a writer that you were heard, that your very solitary work found resonance elsewhere. You feel, well, not alone anymore.(less)
Average rating: 3.98 · 494 ratings · 100 reviews · 19 distinct worksSimilar authors
From This Wicked Patch of Dust

4.07 avg rating — 67 ratings — published 2011 — 3 editions
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The Last Tortilla: and Othe...

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 50 ratings — published 1999 — 3 editions
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Crossing Borders: Personal ...

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 48 ratings — published 2011 — 2 editions
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The Nature of Truth

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Our Lost Border: Essays on ...

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Letter to my Young Sons

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We Wear the Mask: 15 Storie...

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Latino Boom: An Anthology o...

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More books by Sergio Troncoso…
“Fragments of a Dream,” by Sergio Troncoso

Just received my contributor’s copy of New Guard Literary Review, Volume VII, with my story “Fragments of a Dream.” Thank you Shanna McNair, Chris Abani, Mark Doty and all the others who worked on this year’s review.

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The Last Tortilla and Other Stories (Literature & Fiction)
2 chapters   —   updated May 13, 2015 06:32PM
Description: A Rock Trying To Be a Stone: Three boys play a dangerous game that becomes a test of character on the Mexican-American border. Angie Luna: A short story about a young man from El Paso, Texas who falls in love with an older woman from Mexico and rediscovers his Mexican heritage.

Sergio’s Recent Updates

Crossing Borders by Sergio Troncoso
"Crossing Borders is a captivating collection of essays on the inner-struggles of a strong-willed ivy-league educated Mexican-American writer living in Manhattan’s Upper West side. From the essays, the reader learns of the many cultural, economic,..." Read more of this review »
From This Wicked Patch of Dust by Sergio Troncoso
"I thought it was a very well written book. I enjoyed the story and will definitely recommend it to others. "
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Pastoralia by George Saunders
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The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil by George Saunders
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Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
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The Injustice Never Leaves You by Monica Muñoz Martinez
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An important history of violence against Mexican Americans in Texas, often by the Texas Rangers, particularly between 1910-1920. Well-documented and meticulously researched. This book brings to light a history kept by families but largely ignored by ...more
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Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar
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Retablos by Octavio Solis
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An excellently written series of vignettes about growing up in El Paso, which mixes memory and fiction. A homage in tightly written prose to familias and best friends and the Lower Valley and those of us who loved growing up in El Paso, however poor, ...more
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City of Night by John Rechy
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One of the best novels I've read in many years. Loved the experimental prose and the focus on characters at the margins of society. Also loved the philosophical musings about desire and perspective. I'm sorry it took me so long to read it, and I will ...more
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Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky by David  Bowles
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My favorite section was the last third of the book, beginning with Aztecs Ascendant. These myths and legends were mesmerizing to read because names I knew--Coyoacan, Azcapotzalco, Michoacan, Tenochtitlan, Xochimilco, Tlatelolco-- took on a new meanin ...more
More of Sergio's books…
“Rich people don’t have to have a life-and-death relationship with the truth and its questions; they can ignore the truth and still thrive materially. I am not surprised many of them understand literature only as an ornament. Life is an ornament to them, relationships are ornaments, their 'work' is but a flimsy, pretty ornament meant to momentarily thrill and capture attention.”
Sergio Troncoso, Crossing Borders: Personal Essays

“I am in between. Trying to write to be understood by those who matter to me, yet also trying to push my mind with ideas beyond the everyday. It is another borderland I inhabit. Not quite here nor there. On good days I feel I am a bridge. On bad days I just feel alone.”
Sergio Troncoso, Crossing Borders: Personal Essays

“I held Angie Luna in that room for hours, and I remember the different times we made love like epochs in a civilization, each movement and every touch, apex upon abyss. In the luxury of our bed, we tried every position and every angle. I explored the curves on her body and delighted in seeing the freedom of her ecstasy. Her desperate whispers and pleas. I told her I loved her, and she said she loved me too. We lay in bed with our limbs entangled, in a pacific silence that reminded me of existing on a beach just for the sake of such an existence. I couldn't imagine the world ever becoming better, and for some strange reason the thought slipped into my head that I had suddenly grown to be an old man because I could only hope to repeat, but never improve on, a night like this. I finally took her home sometime when the interstate was empty, and the bridges seemed to lead to nowhere, for they were desolate too.”
Sergio Troncoso, The Last Tortilla: and Other Stories

Topics Mentioning This Author

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Around the World ...: Texas 10 273 Aug 24, 2016 05:13PM  
“I exercised my mental muscles in the library, and lo and behold, I transformed myself from a casual reader into a focused one. So it was more than just free books, but also free space and a culture that reinforced settling down, deep reading, thinking, imagining, and exploring with my mind. I am no doubt a writer today because I had a place to go as a kid, where I knew stories were essential, and where everybody also reveled in the wonder within books.”
Sergio Troncoso, Crossing Borders: Personal Essays

“Words are the residue that I was there, that I loved my wife, that I kissed my children goodnight, that I sacrificed my life for them. Words are a curse. Life is a curse. Words escape life. Life escapes words. What in God's name am I? How does someone name a God? What is it to name yourself?”
Sergio Troncoso, Crossing Borders: Personal Essays

“I am in between. Trying to write to be understood by those who matter to me, yet also trying to push my mind with ideas beyond the everyday. It is another borderland I inhabit. Not quite here nor there. On good days I feel I am a bridge. On bad days I just feel alone.”
Sergio Troncoso, Crossing Borders: Personal Essays

“I hated seeing these spasmodic upside-down chicken heads stretching to puncture my flesh. I imagined once that they reached my groin and pecked out my penis and my huevos and kept pecking until they got to my gut and my eyes and my brain, until I was just a pecked-out piece of human meat surrounded by thousands of nervous, dirty white chickens. I think that was about the time I fucked up a pair of chicken heads against a warehouse wall when no one was looking. Well, almost no one. Rueben was right behind me, and that's when he grinned his stupid grin. Maybe he hated the chickens as much as I did. Maybe he just knew que ya me iba también a la chingada. Maybe I was going on my first joy ride to hell and back, and it was fun to watch.”
Sergio Troncoso, The Last Tortilla: and Other Stories

“A group of ten prisoners from Dachau, I was with them, we hid in the forest to wait for the Americans. The Germans had already left everything behind. We had food but no weapons. For days we could hear bombs exploding around us. We just wanted to survive long enough for the Americans to control the territory. We didn’t want to die. At that point, our prison uniforms were the only things to keep us from being shot on the spot by the Americans. That was all we had. Who would the Americans believe? Real prisoners or guards dressed as prisoners? Those devils might even say we were the Germans. This was our nightmare.”
Sergio Troncoso, The Nature of Truth

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