The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life

"A generous book for an ungenerous age." - The New York Review of Books

The Far Away Brothers was awarded the Ridenhour Book Prize, the Northern California Book Award, and the California Book Award Silver Prize. It was also a Fall 2017 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, Longlisted for the Pen America Literary Award in Biography, shortlisted for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize and the L.A. Times Book Prize, and a Top Critic's Pick of 2017 by The New York Times. 

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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 country’s civil war, Ernesto and Raúl Flores always had a fascination with the United States, that distant land of skyscrapers and opportunity. Ernesto dreamed of going one day, but Raúl never felt the northbound tug to which so many hermanos lejanos, or “faraway brothers,” had yielded. When seventeen-year-old Ernesto ends up on the wrong side of the region’s brutal gangs, both brothers are forced to flee the country—away from one danger and toward the great American unknown. In this urgent chronicle of contemporary immigration, journalist Lauren Markham follows the 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, California. 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.