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CENTRAL LIBRARY - LAUREN MARKHAM - The Far Away Brothers

Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life

FarAwayBrothers CoverThe Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life is the deeply reported story of identical twin brothers who escape El Salvador’s violence to build new lives in California—fighting to survive, to stay, and to belong.

Growing up in rural El Salvador in the wake of the civil war, Ernesto Flores had always had a fascination with the United States, the distant land of skyscrapers and Nikes, while his identical twin, Raul, never felt that northbound tug. But when Ernesto ends up on the wrong side of the region’s brutal gangs he is forced to flee the country, and Raul, because he looks just like his brother, follows close behind—away from one danger and toward the great American unknown.

In this urgent chronicle of contemporary immigration, journalist Lauren Markham follows the seventeen-year-old Flores twins as they make their harrowing journey across the Rio Grande and the Texas desert, into the hands of immigration authorities, and from there to their estranged older brother’s custody in Oakland, CA. Soon these unaccompanied minors are navigating a new school in a new language, working to pay down their mounting coyote debt, and facing their day in immigration court, while also encountering the triumphs and pitfalls of life as American teenagers—girls, grades, Facebook—with only each other for support. With intimate access and breathtaking range, Markham offers a coming of age tale that is also a nuanced portrait of Central America’s child exodus, an investigation of U.S. immigration policy, and an unforgettable testament to the migrant experience.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Library. The lecture is part of "(in)visible: Negotiating the US-Mexico Border" @ ReflectSpace, an exhibition that explores physical, emotional and socioeconomic narratives across the US-Mexico border.  <Read More>


Lauren Markham is a writer based in Berkeley, California. Her work has appeared in VQR, VICE, Orion, Pacific Standard, Guernica, The New Yorker.com, on This American Life, and elsewhere. Lauren earned her MFA in Fiction Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has been awarded Fellowships from the Middlebury Fellowship in Environmental Journalism, the 11th Hour Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship, the Mesa Refuge, and the Rotary Foundation. For the past decade, she has worked in the fields of refugee resettlement and immigrant education.

Copies of The Far Away Brothers will be on sale (cash, check, credit). Please use Eventbrite.com to RSVP for  the event and help the Friends of the Library determine the number of books to bring for sales and autographs. Search Lauren Markham Friends of the Library.

Visitors to the Downtown Central Library receive 3 hours FREE parking across Harvard Street at the Marketplace parking structure with validation at the service desk. Handicapped parking is available on the east side of the building. Short term parking spaces are available on the east and south sides of the building. Metered parking is available on Harvard Street and on the west side of the building in Lot #10.

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