Eden to Orizaba. By Jerry Wilson. ISBN: 978-1726019590. $23.95.
In Jerry Wilson’s novel Eden to Orizaba, two journeys intersect at an immigration checkpoint north of the US-Mexico border in February 2009. Desperate to provide for his family and his young wife Maria, Pablo has fled the valley of his birth at the foot of Orizaba, Mexico’s highest peak, a valley ravaged by a million Smithfield Farms hogs and the swine flu epidemic they have brought. Lantry is headed the other way, dodging the wreckage of his life in Dallas and the alcoholism that has destroyed his marriage and his journalist job. Pablo gets two years in a private prison in Eden, Texas. Lantry’s stumbling quest takes him to Mexico City, and eventually to Orizaba, where after a harrowing night on the mountain, he finds and falls in love with Pablo’s wife. The two men’s paths will cross again ten months later—after Pablo’s daring escape from Eden and his return to Orizaba.
Eden to Orizaba takes readers across Mexico and the dramatic Orizaba valley. It is a love story that also sheds light on the human condition and the devastating consequences of unrestricted economic forces, specifically the impact on Mexican families and communities of poorly-regulated, NAFTA-facilitated agribusiness and industry that drives desperate workers north.
Jerry Wilson, a former professor and magazine writer and editor, has published five other books, a socio-historical travel book down the Pan American Highway from Canada to Panama, two environmental memoirs, a book of short stories and a historical novel. (For details about his books, see jerrywilson.us.)