Add Valeria Luiselli's Lost Children Archive to the canon of great American road trip narratives, where it deserves a special place for looking beyond the borders of this vast and conflicted country to reveal how our insularity damages us -- and others. It's an unforgettable and heart-rending achievement that feels contemporary while also transcending our current moment to speak to problems as old as our nation.
February 2019 Indie Next List
“Really incredible fiction takes you on a journey, and somewhere along the way you realize how much of it reflects your own reality. In Lost Children Archive, Valeria Luiselli’s narrator is highly observant of her inner life and the world around her. She unravels a story that’s about family and how walls between people and nations are built — and what they damage. In reading this book, I felt like I was in the car on the family’s road trip — feeling all the conflicting emotions that Luiselli’s narrator is feeling as a partner, mother, and resident in today’s United States.”
— Zoey Cole, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY
NEW YORK TIMES 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR • “An epic road trip [that also] captures the unruly intimacies of marriage and parenthood ... This is a novel that daylights our common humanity, and challenges us to reconcile our differences.” —The Washington Post
In Valeria Luiselli’s fiercely imaginative follow-up to the American Book Award-winning Tell Me How It Ends, an artist couple set out with their two children on a road trip from New York to Arizona in the heat of summer. As the family travels west, the bonds between them begin to fray: a fracture is growing between the parents, one the children can almost feel beneath their feet.
Through ephemera such as songs, maps and a Polaroid camera, the children try to make sense of both their family’s crisis and the larger one engulfing the news: the stories of thousands of kids trying to cross the southwestern border into the United States but getting detained—or lost in the desert along the way.
A breath-taking feat of literary virtuosity, Lost Children Archive is timely, compassionate, subtly hilarious, and formally inventive—a powerful, urgent story about what it is to be human in an inhuman world.
About the Author
Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa, and India. 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 recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant”; the winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, an American Book Award, and the 2021 Dublin Literary Award; and has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award twice and the Kirkus Prize on three occasions. 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 lives in New York City.
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: THE WASHINGTON POST • TIME MAGAZINE • NPR • CHICAGO TRIBUNE • GQ • O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE • THE GUARDIAN • VANITY FAIR • THE ATLANTIC • THE WEEK • THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS • LIT HUB • KIRKUS REVIEWS • THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY • BOSTON.COM • PUREWOW
ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR
WINNER OF THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN FICTION
WINNER OF THE FOLIO PRIZE
FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD
FINALIST FOR THE KIRKUS PRIZE FOR FICTION
LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE
LONGLISTED FOR THE ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZE
“Impossibly smart, full of beauty, heart and insight. Everyone should read this book.”
—Tommy Orange, author of There There
“A Great American Novel for our time.”
“Unforgettable, down to its explosive final sentence. . . . [Luiselli] audaciously stretches the bounds of storytelling.”
“Virtuosic. . . . The brilliance of the writing stirs rage and pity. It humanizes us.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“This is a novel that challenges us, as a nation, to reconcile our differences. . . . [The] writing shimmers like its desert setting.”
—The Washington Post
“Electric, elastic, alluring, new.”
—The New York Times
“A remarkable feat of empathy.”
“[A] brilliantly intricate and constantly surprising book.”
—The New Yorker
“[Luiselli’s] language is so transporting, it stops you time and again.”
—O, The Oprah Magazine
“Like all great novels. . . . Lost Children Archive is unquestionably timely, [but] it also approaches a certain timelessness.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Stunning. . . . Uniquely rewarding—and even life-changing.”
—The Seattle Times
“Delicate, funny, effortlessly poetic.”
—The New York Review of Books
“Rollicking. . . A highly imaginative and politically deft portrait of childhood within a vast American landscape.”