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From This Wicked Patch of Dust
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From This Wicked Patch of Dust

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  69 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In the border shantytown of Ysleta, Mexican immigrants Pilar and Cuauhtémoc Martínez strive to teach their four children to forsake the drugs and gangs of their neighborhood. The family’s hardscrabble origins are just the beginning of this sweeping new novel from Sergio Troncoso.

Spanning four decades, this is a story of a family’s struggle to become American and yet not b
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by University of Arizona Press
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4.10  · 
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 ·  69 ratings  ·  11 reviews

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Ana Aguilera
Nov 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A gripping novel about the experiences of a Mexican American family in New Mexico from the 60's to the new century. Each chapter is a POV of a family member although most of the chapters are devoted to the daughter Julieta and youngest son Ismael. As a Latina I enjoyed the various Spanish phrases scattered throughout the dialogue, which gave a sense of familiarity and realism to the characters. However, for non Spanish speaking readers, many parts of the dialogue will find this frustrating, espe ...more
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Without murder, mayhem, or supernatural powers Sergio Troncoso tells a compelling story about family, cultural identity, and honoring traditions.
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I originally read this book before using it in a summer course about reading and writing. I loved it, and my students loved it! The family in the story is easy to fall in love with and easy to be frustrated with - just like anyone's family. Although their experiences are unique, they are at the same time easy to connect with, and the story pulls you along. By the time we were only halfway through the book, my students were already talking about the characters as if they were people we knew!
John Jaramillo
Mar 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed Troncoso's novel and admired the ambitious and sweeping story.
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this story! I highly recommend it, for our high school students, ESOL teachers, & politicians.
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Jun 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
From the Wicked Patch of Dust is a real treasure with richness in detail and emotion. It is a story both fictitious while entirely plausible. The plot, themes and characters resonant with the reader for authenticity and dynamism.

The book centers around four children who grow up on the Texas-Mexico border, Pancho struggles with weight and his shyness(I personally identify with Pancho most). Ishmael struggles with loneliness and feelings of failure despite earning degrees from Harvard and Yale. H
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
I really enjoyed this book. I was definitely confused at first and thought there were a lot more kids than there were, because they all had two names! I thought the characters were very well developed throughout this short but intense book. It shows the difficulties of families from one culture, living in another, and how parents really cannot know how their kids will turn out. I liked how Spanish was used throughout because it added to the authenticity of the conversations, but how I wish there ...more
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Mr. Troncoso has created a story where not only the characters come to life, but where the reader finds himself able to relate to the struggles the Martinez family faces. This book crosses the borders of race and religion while taking the reader through a roller coaster of emotions. It is easy to realize that no matter how different from one another we are, our families and their love is all that matters at the end of the day. Great Book!
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thought it was a very well written book. I enjoyed the story and will definitely recommend it to others.
Nov 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Enjoyed reading this local El Paso author who came through on a book tour. The writing is semi-autobiographic, and tells many individual stories, within the frame work of one family, and how they grow and change. Good book discussion choice.
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
Interesting premise but not a well developed novel and simplistically written
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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, Internatio ...more
“It’s a great honor, m’ijo. We know that. I’m sure everyone in Ysleta is proud of you. But this is who you are," she said, for a moment scanning the dark night air and the empty street. A cricket chirped in the darkness. "God help you when you go to this ‘Havid.’ You will be so far away from us, from everything you know. You will be alone. What if something happens to you? Who’s going to help you? But you always wanted to be alone; you were always so independent, so stubborn."

"Like you.”
“At Harvard, the strong and savvy and confident thrived, while the nice or shy or quaintly moral were just bit players. In Ysleta, you believed in God because you were poor and needed something to hold on to. At Harvard, you believed in your good luck or bad luck, in all-nighters, in your political savvy.” 2 likes
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