The book chronicles the experiences of a boy growing up in the fictional Central Valley town of Catela. It details the poverty, drugs and violence that impact the daily lives of residents of the Valley’s impoverished, unincorporated rural communities, and features characters and places familiar to Valley residents.
During our chat, Hernández told me that he hopes the book starts constructive conversations about some of the real issues facing the residents of these rural communities. I recently finished the novel, and I think his powerful book really does have the ability to spark deep discussion on some thorny issues.
So, I absolutely encourage you to pick up a copy of “Breathing, In Dust.” If you are a Fresno resident who hasn’t ventured into the Valley’s rural communities, this book will immerse you in a different world. If you live in one of these communities, this book could reflect your daily reality.
And once you finish this book, I encourage you to talk about it. (I know I can’t stop talking about it!) I think it would be really cool for a bunch of people to read this book, and then discuss it with a group, book-club style. What do you say??