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The Book of Unknown Americans

The Book of Unknown Americans

Author(s): Cristina Henríquez

Location(s): Delaware

Genre(s): Fiction

Era(s): 2000s

Set in modern day Delaware, in an apartment building populated by immigrants from Mexico, Paraguay, Panama, this powerful book tells the stories of these unknown people, most of whom are American citizens or legal immigrants with visas, who are treated like slaves, animals, and idiots because they are perceived as “wetbacks,” “illegals,” “lazy Mexicans,” and other insulting stereotypes.

The underlying story in The Book of Unknown Americans is deep and beautiful. Told from the points of view of several characters who live in the apartment building, the tale is of an outcast boy and a girl who would have been out of his league but for an accident that left her brain damaged and ostracized. Both rejected by their peers, they are the only ones who understand and appreciate each other. Her family worked two years to get the necessary paperwork to legally bring her to the US from Mexico so she could go to a special school, and The Book of Unknown Americans explores their struggle to pursue the American Dream.

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021