One way I've been describing Valeria Luiselli's Lost Children Archive is that it reads like a classic — as though even now, you can tell that this is a novel that will be pored over and taught, and will carry its gravity, grace, and intelligence into the future. But it's also immensely compelling, and the second half is so page-turning I raced through on first read, desperate to find out what happened. The story of this family is both revelatory and intimate, and Lost Children Archive is an extraordinary achievement. Recommended By Jill O., Powells.com
An exceptionally timely book about child migration and the life-or-death decisions made at the U.S.-Mexican border, while also a poignant story about a blended family trying to figure out how they fit into each others' lives. A haunting, beautiful, important work. Recommended By Mary S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From the two-time NBCC Finalist, an emotionally resonant, fiercely imaginative new novel about a family whose road trip across America collides with an immigration crisis at the southwestern border — an indelible journey told with breathtaking imagery, spare lyricism, and profound humanity.
A mother and father set out with their two children, a boy and a girl, driving from New York to Arizona in the heat of summer. Their destination: Apacheria, the place the Apaches once called home.
Why Apaches? asks the ten-year-old son. Because they were the last of something, answers his father.
In their car, they play games and sing along to music. But on the radio, there is news about an “immigration crisis”: thousands of kids trying to cross the southwestern border into the United States, but getting detained — or lost in the desert along the way.
As the family drives — through Virginia to Tennessee, across Oklahoma and Texas — we sense they are on the brink of a crisis of their own. A fissure is growing between the parents, one the children can almost feel beneath their feet. They are led, inexorably, to a grand, harrowing adventure — both in the desert landscape and within the chambers of their own imaginations.
Told through several compelling voices, blending texts, sounds, and images, Lost Children Archive is an astonishing feat of literary virtuosity. It is a richly engaging story of how we document our experiences, and how we remember the things that matter to us the most. With urgency and empathy, it takes us deep into the lives of one remarkable family as it probes the nature of justice and equality today.
"Luiselli is an exceptional writer who knows her craft; this is a beautiful text, in which everyone is searching for connection and reconnection — a novel asking for more consideration, more mercy, and more action." San Francisco Chronicle
“Poignant, intense, keenly timely…Luiselli is no stranger to inventive storytelling; [this] latest work is perhaps her most politically relevant. Stories of Latin American asylum seekers and the disappeared Apaches overlap and converge…This is one of few novels that fully and powerfully conveys the urgency of this unsettling situation.” Booklist (Starred Review)
“Lost Children Archive explores what holds a family and society together, and what pulls them apart...Luiselli demonstrates how callousness toward other cultures erodes our own. Her novel makes a devastating case for compassion.” Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“A highly imaginative, politically deft portrait of childhood within a vast American landscape — a rollicking tale that contains within it an extremely disciplined exercise in political empathy. Luiselli takes the minds of children seriously, and the reader witnesses their intelligent eyes and ears recording each detail of the borderlands and registering the full terror of them.” Harper’s Magazine
”A gorgeous and vital ghost-rich soundscape, and one of the most brilliant portrayals of child-parent relationships I have ever read. Luiselli floods extraordinary light onto childhood, parenthood, the literary consciousness, and how we make sense of past and present pain.” Max Porter, author of Grief is the Thing With Feathers
“Impossibly smart, full of beauty, heart and insight, Lost Children Archive is a novel about archiving all that we don’t want to lose. Luiselli looks into the American present as well as its history: into Native American history, and the many intersections between American and Mexican history that are and have always been there. This is the perfect American road trip novel for right now. Everyone should read this book.” Tommy Orange, author of There There
About the Author
Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Africa. An acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she is the author of the essay collection Sidewalks; the novels Faces in the Crowd and The Story of My Teeth; and, most recently, Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions. She is the winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes and an American Book Award and has been twice nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kirkus Prize. She has been a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and the recipient of a Bearing Witness Fellowship from the Art for Justice Fund. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney’s, among other publications, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. She currently lives and teaches in New York.
Valeria Luiselli on PowellsBooks.Blog
One way I've been describing Valeria Luiselli's Lost Children Archive
is that it reads like a classic — as though, even now, you can tell that this is a novel that will be pored over and taught, and will carry its gravity, grace, and intelligence into the future. It’s also immensely compelling, and the second half is so page-turning I raced through it...