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. — From Valeria Luiselli
"Everyone should read this book."--Tommy Orange
From the two-time NBCC Finalist, an emotionally resonant, fiercely imaginative new novel about a family's road trip across America--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.
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 winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes and an American Book Award, and has twice been 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 lives in New York City.
"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
"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. LOST CHILDREN ARCHIVE is one of the best novels I’ve read in recent years, and one of the most important.” —Max Porter, author of Grief is the Thing With Feathers
"Luiselli writes with so much intelligence, compassion and originality, her work always astonishes me. Lost Children Archive is absolutely phenomenal." —Claire-Louise Bennett, author of Pond
"Superb, powerful, eloquent. Juxtaposing rich, poetic prose with direct storytelling, and alternating narratives with photos, documents, poems, maps, and music, LOST CHILDREN ARCHIVE explores what holds a family and society together, and what pulls them apart. The novel begins with a family embarking on a road trip, and culminates in an indictment of the tragic shortcomings of the immigration process. Luiselli demonstrates how callousness toward other cultures erodes our own. Her novel makes a devastating case for compassion." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Remarkable, inventive. . . . A family treks south to the U.S.-Mexico border, bearing tales of the anguish of migrant families all the way down. The opening sections are thick with literary references and social critique; imagine On the Road rewritten by Maggie Nelson. But the story darkens as they witness the [families’] plight firsthand, and later, as the couple's children stumble into their own crisis. As the novel rises to a ferocious climax, Luiselli thunderously, persuasively insists that reckoning with the border will make deep demands of our emotional reserves. A powerful border story, at once intellectual and heartfelt." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)