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Across a Hundred Mountains

Across a Hundred Mountains

A Novel

  • reading group guide
Winner of the American Book Award, Across a Hundred Mountains is a stunning and poignant novel about a young girl who leaves her small town in Mexico to find her father, who left his family to find work in America—a story of migration, loss, and discovery.

After a tragedy separates her from her mother, Juana García leaves in search of her father, who left them two years earlier. Out of money and in need of someone to help her across the border, Juana meets Adelina Vasquez, a young woman who left her family in California to follow her lover to Mexico. Finding themselves—in a Tijuana jail—in desperate circumstances, they offer each other much needed material and spiritual support and ultimately become linked forever in the most unexpected of ways.

In Across a Hundred Mountains, Reyna Grande puts a human face on the controversial issue of immigration, helping readers to better understand those who risk life and limb every day in pursuit of a better life.
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  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743269582 | 
  • May 2007
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Reading Group Guide

SUMMARY
After years of taking care of her mother, Juana Garcia leaves her small town in Mexico to find her father who disappeared nineteen years earlier. Out of money and in need of someone to help her cross the border, Juana meets Adelina Vasquez, who left her family in California three years prior to follow forbidden love in Mexico.
After the two women join forces in the most unlikely locale -- a Tijuana city jail -- nothing is ever quite what it seems. In a vivid novel depicting dreams deferred and dreams fulfilled, Grande takes readers inside the lives of Mexicans who are left behind in the phenomenon of migration to the United States.

READING GROUP DISCUSSION
1. Early in the book, we learn that Juana is enslaved to feelings of guilt and obligation: "Her father's ashes. Her redemption. Perhaps after she delivered the ashes to her dying mother there would be no more demons to haunt her, and she would be able to lower her head on a pillow and sleep" (page 12). What event initially inspires Juana's remorse? How does that event shape the character she ultimately becomes? Besides the search for her father, in what other ways does Juana attempt to redeem herself?
2. As the story flips between plotlines, the conclusion of one chapter is often very similar to the introduction of the next, at least in terms of what each character is doing. Find as many examples as you can throughout the book where the transition between Adelina and Juana involves the see more

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About the Author

Reyna Grande
Photograph by Imran Chaudhry

Reyna Grande

Reyna Grande is an award-winning novelist and memoirist. She has received an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award, and the Latino Book Award. Her second novel, Dancing with Butterflies, received critical acclaim. In 2012, she was a finalist for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Awards for her memoir The Distance Between Us. Her works have been published internationally in countries such as Norway and South Korea.

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