‘Where We Come From’ Tells A Story Of Middle-Class Life On The Texas Border

The novel, by Brownsville native Oscar Cásares, combines a healthy dose of family dynamics with a suspenseful plot.

By Joy DiazMay 22, 2019 12:18 pm,

Oscar Cásares’ new novel, “Where We Come From,” which comes out this week, touches on the timely topic of immigration. But Clay Smith, editor-in-chief of Kirkus Reviews, says though the story takes place at the Texas border, it’s not a novel exclusively about immigration.

Cásares sets his novel in Brownsville, his hometown.

“It’s terra firma for him,” Smith says. “He knows it well, and he evokes it so beautifully.”

Cásares began working on “Where We Come From” in 2014, before the Trump administration’s aggressive policies and statements about immigrants.

The book focuses on a newly retired schoolteacher, Nina, who’s taking care of her aging mother. One day, Nina’s housekeeper asks her for a favor: She asks if some of her family members from Mexico, who entered the U.S. illegally, can stay on her property for a few days until smugglers come to take them to Fort Worth. Nina agrees, but then, the smugglers lay claim to Nina’s back house, making it a hiding place for more immigrants.

Smith says “Where We Come From” is a literary novel, but also a suspenseful read.

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.


Written by Shelly Brisbin.