In a series of meditative essays, the award-winning writer Richard Rodriguez turns his perceptive gaze to the desert-- in both the physical and spiritual sense-- in a quest to understand his relationship to the “desert God” and to terrorists who kill in the name of that same God. He delves into what it means to be a gay, devout, Roman Catholic in his 60s — attempting to make sense of a world and a religion that have both rejected him at times. His peregrinations take him beyond the Middle East—to San Francisco, Paris, Las Vegas and Malibu. He writes about the rise of atheism in America after 9/11, the modern evasion of place, and the uses of doubt for religious believers.
Richard Rodriguez is a journalist, essayist, and contributor to Harper’s Magazine, Mother Jones, the Los Angeles Times, and Time. He is the author of Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez; Days of Obligation: An Argument with My Mexican Father, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and Brown: The Last Discovery of America, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. For many years he was an essayist on PBS's MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour. He is currently a contributing writer and editor for New American Media, a nonprofit news network.
Rubén Martínez, an Emmy-winning journalist and poet, is the author of several books, including Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail and The New Americans. His most recent book is Desert America: Boom and Bust in the New Old West. He holds the Fletcher Jones Chair in Literature and Writing at Loyola Marymount University.
Photo credit: Timothy Archibald, 2013