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Honey hasn’t seen her mother, Marianne, in more than two years. She drives deep into the once-prosperous border region of the Oro Desert for a surprise visit, only to discover that Marianne has vanished.
Alone in an unforgiving environment populated with hostile locals, she meets Chávez, a young coyote” or human trafficker, who convinces Honey he knows of her mother’s whereabouts and agrees to take her there for a price. As they make their way through the Oro’s brutal no-man’s-land they are tracked by Ocho, a teenage bounty hunter determined to recruit Chávez. And then there is Baez, Marianne’s wizened Shepherd-coyote mix, whose death and life intimately intersect with Honey and Chávez’s search for Marianne and who tells the story of the Oro Desert as it slowly comes apart.
Told from three distinct perspectives, El Niño is an intricately constructed and starkly written novel from a bold and inventive new writer.
Nadia Bozak is the author of Orphan Love and El Niño. She is currently working on a novel, english.motion, which is a timely retelling of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. She is also the author of The Cinematic Footprint: Lights, Camera, Natural Resources, a work of film theory. She lives in Ontario.