Grande Debut

When she was nine years old, Reyna Grande came to the United States as an undocumented immigrant. Years later, she graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz with a degree in creative writing and was a 2003 PEN USA Emerging Voices Fellow. Her debut novel Across A Hundred Mountains, tells the story of two undocumented immigrants from Mexico. Daniel Olivas reviews the book for the El Paso Times.

In the nonlinear narrative, chapters alternate between her two female protagonists, Juana Garcia and Adelina Vasquez. First, we have Juana, a young girl who lives in a small Mexican village in extreme poverty. When a flood leads to yet another death in her family — a death that Juana feels responsible for — Juana’s father believes that he must earn more money to house his family in safer quarters. He believes that there are abundant opportunities “en el otro lado,” based on a letter from a friend: “Apá’s friend wrote about riches unheard of, streets that never end, and buildings that nearly reach the sky. He wrote that there’s so much money to be made, and so much food to eat, that people there don’t know what hunger is.”

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