Journey Through Mexico in Forrest Gander’s “The Trace”

After a devastating accident that involves their teenaged son, Dale and Hoa decide to drive through the Chihuahua Desert and retrace the route of 19th Century American writer Ambrose Bierce, who traveled to Mexico to report on the Revolution that was occurring at the time. Through desolate landscapes and danger, the couple loses a bit of themselves as they attempt to rebuild their lives.

Forrest Gander’s poetic novel The Trace is a tale of broken relationships with tragic consequences. Using heartbreakingly beautiful poetry, Gander exposes the tragedy of the middle-aged middle-class, their loneliness, and their arrogance. Bringing the danger and the beauty of the desert to life, he captures how stunning the natural wonders of the world are while never losing sight of how dangerous they can be if you aren’t prepared to face them. In the end, The Trace is a harrowing tale about about what happens when relationships “break down.”