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  • The Guardians
  • Written by Ana Castillo
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A Novel

Written by Ana CastilloAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Ana Castillo


List Price: $11.99


On Sale: December 10, 2008
Pages: 224 | ISBN: 978-0-307-48572-4
Published by : Random House Random House Group

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Read by Ana Castillo
On Sale: August 07, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-4159-4351-9
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fiction (50) immigration (11) family (7) mexico (6) immigrants (6)
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From American Book Award—winning author Ana Castillo comes a suspenseful, moving new novel about a sensuous, smart, and fiercely independent woman.

Eking out a living as a teacher’s aide in a small New Mexican border town, Tía Regina is also raising her teenage nephew, Gabo, a hardworking boy who has entered the country illegally and aspires to the priesthood. When Gabo’s father, Rafa, disappears while crossing over from Mexico, Regina fears the worst.

After several days of waiting and an ominous phone call from a woman who may be connected to a smuggling ring, Regina and Gabo resolve to find Rafa. Help arrives in the form of Miguel, an amorous, recently divorced history teacher; Miguel’s gregarious abuelo Milton; a couple of Gabo’s gangbanger classmates; and a priest of wayward faith. Between the ruthless “coyotes” who exploit Mexicans while smuggling them to America and the border officials who are out to arrest and deport the illegal immigrants, looming threat is a constant companion on the journey.

Ana Castillo brilliantly evokes the beautiful, stark desert landscape and creates vivid characters with strong voices and resilient hearts. The Guardians serves as a remarkable testament to enduring faith, family bonds, cultural pride, and the human experience.

From the Compact Disc edition.
Ana Castillo

About Ana Castillo

Ana Castillo - The Guardians

Photo © Antonio Perez

Ana Castillo is the author of the novels The Guardians, Peel My Love Like an Onioin, So Far from God, The Mixquiahuala Letters, and Sapogonia. She has written a story collection, Loverboys; the crtitical study Massacre of the Dreamers; the poetry collection My Father Was a Toltec and Selected Poems; and the children's book My Daughter, My Son, the Eagle, The Dove. She is the editor of the anthology Goddess of the Americas: Writings on the Virgin of Guadalupe, available from Vintage Espanol (La diosa de las Americas). Castillo has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Book Award, a Carl Sandburg Award, a Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Chicago with her son, Marcel.

Ana Castillo es la autora de las novelas The Guardians, Peel My Love Like an Onion, The Mixquiahuala Letters, So Far from God y Sapogonia; la colección de cuentos Loverboys; el estudio crítico Massacre of the Dreamers; y la colección de poemas My Father Was a Toltec. Ha sido galardonada con el Carl Sandburg Prize, el Southwestern Booksellers Award y el American Book Award. Vive en Chicago con su hijo Marcel.
Discussion Questions

Discussion Guides

1. Why do you think the author chooses to tell the story using different points of view? What makes each narrator distinct?

2. Regina calls Miguel her archangel and even sometimes “her guardian angel” (pg. 51). Do you think the title refers to him? What else could it mean?

3. Regina says that her biggest fear is that Gabo will want to be a priest, and that, when Rafa hears about it, “he’ll be so disappointed” (pg. 7). Why do you think she says that? What kind of a life do you think she envisions for Gabo?

4. Gabo tries not to take pleasure in anything, even something as simple as enjoying the fresh produce from his aunt’s garden. Do you think his motivation extends beyond religion? Is Gabo always saintly, or do you see any other sides of him in the novel?

5. The Los Angeles Times called The Guardians “a rollicking read, with jokes and suspense and joy rides and hearts breaking.” What are some examples of humor in the novel?

6. Regina unexpectedly finds a romantic connection with Miguel. Why do you think it took her so long after losing her husband to enter another romantic relationship? How do you think her first relationship shaped her interactions with Miguel?

7. How does Jesse serve as Gabo’s foil? How are the two boys most alike?

8. When Regina thinks about her own days as an undocumented farm worker, she says: “That’s all every immigrant in the world wants, to get her papers in order. To officially become a person” (pg. 116). How is this quote important to the novel? How do you think this mentality has affected Regina?

9. Regina and Rafa come from the same family, yet their fates are very different. Why is Regina more conventionally successful in America than Rafa is? How, if at all, do they epitomize the immigrant experience?

10. Abuelo Milton becomes a hero several times in the novel, snatching Gabo from the clutches of danger. Why do you think he chooses to become so involved in Gabo’s and Regina’s troubles?

11. Towards the end of the novel, Miguel quotes the nineteenth-century Mexican president, Porfirio Diaz, saying: “Poor México, so far from God, so close to the United States” (pg. 151). Why do you think he uses this quote? How are the two countries represented in the novel?

12. What do you envision for Gabriela’s future?

  • The Guardians by Ana Castillo
  • September 09, 2008
  • Fiction - Literary
  • Random House Trade Paperbacks
  • $15.00
  • 9780812975710

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