For those of you who have written or reached out describing how you have a hard time coming up with story ideas, well, read this book. This is a story people, and I mean a story of stories that splinters out like sunshine through a squinting retina. The border is a wonderful place. For many of you who haven’t been there you might find this a surprising take. You border rats, however, know what I’m talking about. Kimball Taylor knows, and “The Coyote’s Bicycle” brings the border to literary life, warts and all. And yes, the bicycle is the protagonist. (One of them.)
This book was a burner. I couldn’t put it down. The story of a self-made man who was left behind as a child in a village far to the south who makes his way north to the streets of Tijuana, a very tricky place for anyone in transit. A cautious thinker he makes a plan then makes his move, turning away from the expected at every step of the way. Eventually he becomes one of the most successful “polleros”(smuggler) of all time taking in an estimated thirty million dollars plus over his short career, a career defined in part by his use of bicycles to cross humans into el otro lado. (the other side)
But is he real? Was he real? Is he alive? Why did he suddenly stop and vanish from the face of the Earth? There is a parallel narrative here friends, one involving a bathroom attendant who lives in an old ship sitting on a hillside on the westside of T.J. This man is also a writer and he is covering the same story from the Mexican side. If you think you know the border. If you think you know politics. If you think you know what CBP is and does then read this book. I can almost guarantee you don’t know everything. There are passages in this book that made me laugh and others that made me stop and hold my breath.
The border leaves its mark on anyone who crosses, legally or illegally. An artificial line in the sand. Seconds after drawing it the Earth shifts and the sand fills it in once again. Get it, read it.