2005 Southwest Book Award * 2006 WILLA Literary Award Finalist
"A charming memoir. . . . While the legacy of [Lucy's] father's life is fragmented . . . her mother's background offers a brilliantly detailed picture of border life with its poverty brushed aside to allow joy—and the tantalizing smell of Mexican food—to enter. . . . Affectionate, articulate, and always straightforward."—Texas Books in Review
"Adds to the growing body of literary voices emerging from the border region of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. The uniqueness of Fisher-West's voice is found in her ability to represent the Rio Grande as a source that unites people rather than as a divide that separates two nations. Her story celebrates the rich complexity a bicultural, and in her case, international life offers."—Meredith E. Abarca, El Paso Times
"A delightful source of information about a way of Latino life that is sadly disappearing into the melting pot of Americana."—El Paso Inc.
Lucy Fischer-West knows the power of birthplace and of borders and rivers. Her memoir begins with the story of her parents, one reared in Germany, the other in Mexico, and how they found each other on the Texas–Mexico border. Fischer-West’s own journeys take her from her birth in the Hudson River Valley; to her upbringing on both sides of the Rio Grande; across the Atlantic to Scotland and then France; and finally to India’s River Ganges, halfway around the world from the El Paso barrio where she grew up. Hers is an ordinary life made extraordinary by its path and by the people who, having touched and enriched her life, stay with her, as nurturing to her spirit as the rivers that help her mark time.
By focusing not on the conflicts of border life but rather on everyday experiences made rich by her appreciation of them, Fischer-West honors her rivers and the people who travel them, cross them, live on their banks, and bathe in their waters. Her story touches on the emotions that bind us to others: anger, sorrow, equanimity, exuberance, and serenity.
“A true child of the Rio Grande, Lucy Fischer-West is a woman at home in the world.” —Joyce Gibson Roach
“The clear voice of my paisana, Lucy Fischer-West, pleasurably transports me back to my native city, El Paso, Texas. The stories of her Mexican mother and German father, and her own international river-braided tales, enrich the complex literature of the border.” —Pat Mora
"When one reads Lucy Fischer-West’s Child of Many Rivers, one is not reading so much about the great rivers, vividly remembered, that have run through her rich and complex life and travels—the Rio Grande, the Hudson, the Clyde, the Ganges–but of the deeper currents that run through all our lives from their sacred sources: all the strong and generous women like the author and her mother, like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who work bone-hard through the most difficult poverty, heartbreak and tragedy, who nourish and nurture our souls, who feed us their rich stories and make our deserts bloom." —Lex Williford