Reyna Grande's autograph (Across a Hundred Mountains)

Reyna Grande (by Ibarionex Perello)

Having grown up and lived within ninety minutes of the Mexico-California border for most of my life, I'm drawn innately, it seems, to movies, novels, or true life accounts involving border/immigration issues in what are typically sad, harrowing, and sometimes tragic, stories of survival and rescue.  Reyna Grande has one such harrowing (though ultimately hopeful) long story to tell, forged from her own hard times as an orphan and undocumented immigrant, in her debut novel--a 2007 American Book Award winner in fiction--Across a Hundred Mountains.

I salvaged this autographed copy yesterday afternoon from one of the local thrift stores I regularly haunt.  I had never heard of Reyna Grande before until yesterday, drawn to the book both by its title and its rugged, southwestern cover featuring what appears to be a VW bus (but may just be a regular city bus) attempting to navigate what looks as much like an impossible rocky arroyo as a so-called "road".  Terrible terrain and more terrible odds not unfamiliar to Grande or the roughly 300,000 human beings attempting to cross the U.S. border from Mexico every year.

Imagine my surprise when I pulled Reyna Grande's first novel off the shelf, opened it to the title page, and beheld her signature in purple felt ink.  Pretty cool.  Serendipity, I'd say.  Better yet knowing I've still the future pleasure (soon soon) of reading Across a Hundred Mountains ahead of me.  For more information on Reyna Grande, visit her website here.

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