Crux: A Cross-Border: Memoir by Jean Guerrero

Crux: A Cross-Border: Memoir by Jean Guerrero


A daughter’s quest to find, understand, and save her charismatic, troubled, and elusive father, a self-mythologizing Mexican immigrant who travels across continents—and across the borders between imagination and reality; and spirituality and insanity—fleeing real and invented persecutors.

In the tradition of parent-child memoirs, Enrique’s Journey meets The Glass Castle, here is the haunting story of a daughter’s quest to understand her father, to save him from his own demons and to save herself from following his self-destructive path. Marco Antonio was born in Mexico but as a teenager migrated with his large family north to California, where he met Jean’s mother, a young Puerto Rican woman just out of med school. Marco was a self-taught genius at fixing and creating things—including a mythology about himself as a shaman, a dreamcaster, and an animal whisperer, rather than the failed father, husband, and son he feared he was. Before long Marco goes on the run from his family and responsibilities—to Asia, to Europe, and eventually back to Mexico—with long crack and whiskey binges, suffering from what he claimed were CIA mind control experiments. As soon as she’s old enough, Jean follows.

Using her skills as a journalist, and her lifelong obsessions with the fuzzy lines between truth and fantasy, Jean searches for explanations for her father’s behavior other than schizophrenia, the diagnosis her mother whispered to Jean when she was still a child. She takes his wildest claims seriously and investigates them. She interviews cousins and grandparents and discovers a chain of fabulists and mystics, going back to her great great grandmother, a clairvoyant curandera who was paid to summon forth voices and visions from the afterlife. She begins mirroring her father’s self-destructive behavior in her own wild experiments with sex and drugs and her flirtations with death in jungles and the middle of the sea. She risks everything in her quest to understand and redeem her father from the underworld of his obsessions and delusions and self-destruction—to bring him back to the world of the living.

This is the story of a child’s search for an elusive parent—through exploration, analysis, and embodiment—but also a penetrating journey into the idea of borders and crossings: between sanity and madness, cultures and languages, scientific worlds and mystical, spiritual impulses, life and death. Crux is both a riveting adventure story driven by desire and a profoundly original exploration of the mysteries of our world, our most intimate relationships, and ourselves.

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