‘Lost Children Archive’ a novel by Valeria Luiselli
WHO: Valeria Luiselli
WHAT: LOST CHILDREN ARCHIVE, a novel
WHEN: Published by Knopf February 12, 2019
WHERE: The author lives in New York.
WHY: “Harrowing…Intense and keenly timely.
“No stranger to inventive storytelling and the Mexican-American borderlands, Valeria Luiselli launches this ultimately harrowing novel with an innocuous enough premise.
“An unnamed couple and their children embark on a cross-country road trip from New York City to Arizona. Husband and wife both work as audio recording artists, dedicated to capturing the soundscapes of everyday life. Upon their arrival, he plans to investigate the native Apache people who used to populate the Southwest, and she has promised to find a friend’s daughters who have been arrested at the border.
“When the family arrives at their destination, however, the overwhelming scale of the migrant crisis redirects their efforts, and the children eventually lose themselves in the strange, uncertain terrain. As husband and wife rush to recover their own offspring, stories of Latin American asylum seekers and the disappeared Apaches overlap and converge, creating a poignant portrait of current events.
“Intense and keenly timely, Luiselli’s latest work is perhaps her most politically relevant, and themes of translation and migration resonate, making it one of few novels that fully and powerfully convey the urgency of this unsettling situation.”
–Diego Baez, in a starred review for BOOKLIST
“A powerful, eloquent novel.
Juxtaposing rich poetic prose with direct storytelling and brutal reality…Luiselli explores what holds a family and society together and what pulls them apart.”
–PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, in a boxed and starred review
“Remarkable and inventive.
A powerful border story, at once intellectual and heartfelt.”
–KIRKUS, a starred review
. . . . .
FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK:
I don’t know what my husband and I will say to each of our children one day. I’m not sure which parts of our story we might each choose to pluck and edit out for them, and which ones we’ll shuffle around and insert back in to produce a final version — even though plucking, shuffling, and editing sounds is probably the best summary of what my husband and I do for a living. But the children will ask, because ask is what children do. And we’ll need to tell them a beginning, a middle, and an end. We’ll need to give them an answer, tell them a proper story.