States on The Border

TITLE: DAYS OF OBLIGATION: AN ARGUMENT WITH MY MEXICAN FATHER

AUTHOR: RICHARD RODRIGUEZ

PUBLISHER: VIKING; 230 PAGES; $21

THE BOTTOM LINE: The spiritual divide between the U.S. and Mexico can be harder to cross than the real one.

IN THE 1950S THE YOUNG RICHARD Rodriguez left Mexico with his parents to settle in California. Now the Mexican border runs through his brain. On one side is an old country more imagined than recalled, an ur-land of fatedness and tragic history. On the other is a bright, forgetful America, where every sunset takes the day with it. For years Rodriguez has been...

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