by Acosta, Daniel

A river runs through young Manny Maldonado Jr.'s life, heart and imagination. Sometimes at night it even shoots through his brain like a bullet. But this river isn't water, it's iron - the tracks and trains of the Southern Pacific railroad that pass along his tight-knit neighborhood in the San Gabriel valley just ten miles east of L.A. The iron river is everything to Man-on-Fire, Man for short to his friends, Little Man to his uncles and cousins. He watches it, he waits for it, he plays nears its tracks, he listens for the weight of its currents (strong currents flowing east pulling two hundred boxcars, light current going west with less than fifty cars), he whiles away long summer days throwing rocks and bricks at it with his friends Danny, Marco and Little. They line up cans and bottles in mock battles to try to throw it off track. But nothing derails the iron river, and nothing stops the vicious stinking cop Turk from trying to pin a hobo's murder on the four young boys.

Acosta writes with a gorgeous clarity and a truth to the voice of his young narrative, an innocent boy witnessing violence and racism from his vantage point in a loving family living on the edge of poverty. This is a tale about boys growing up and coming to understand how hard the world can be.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Fritz Agency
Antonia Fritz

Available View on Rightsdesk



[...] A dense story with rich associative leaps, the novel will prompt discussions about race, class, sexuality, and gender. -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Review: Kirkus Reviews

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