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Lost Children Archive

Length: 11 hrs and 16 mins
4 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2019

The moving, powerful and urgent English-language debut from one of the brightest young stars in world literature

Suppose you and Pa were gone, and we were lost. What would happen then?

A family in New York packs the car and sets out on a road trip. A mother, a father, a boy and a girl, they head southwest, to the Apacheria, the regions of the US which used to be Mexico. They drive for hours through desert and mountains. They stop at diners when they’re hungry and sleep in motels when it gets dark. The little girl tells surreal knock knock jokes and makes them all laugh. The little boy educates them all and corrects them when they’re wrong. The mother and the father are barely speaking to each other.

Meanwhile, thousands of children are journeying north, travelling to the US border from Central America and Mexico. A grandmother or aunt has packed a backpack for them, putting in a Bible, one toy, some clean underwear. They have been met by a coyote: a man who speaks to them roughly and frightens them. They cross a river on rubber tubing and walk for days, saving whatever food and water they can. Then they climb to the top of a train and travel precariously in the open container on top. Not all of them will make it to the border.

In a breathtaking feat of literary virtuosity, Lost Children Archive intertwines these two journeys to create a masterful novel full of echoes and reflections - a moving, powerful, urgent story about what it is to be human in an inhuman world.

©2019 Valeria Luiselli (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Thrilling...a rollicking tale that contains within it an extremely disciplined exercise in political empathy." (Harper’s)

"A novelist of a rare vitality." (Ali Smith)

"Powerful, eloquent. Juxtaposing rich poetic prose with direct storytelling and brutal reality and alternative narratives with photos, documents, poems, maps and music, Luiselli explores what holds a family and society together and what pulls them apart. Superb." (Publishers Weekly)

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  • DaveD
  • 04-17-19

Lose Yourself In This Life Story

The story of a couple coming together, inheriting and having a child. Working with a passion for sound and language the family make their long way across America, so close in their car and yet generations apart. All the time, the parallels of people, adult and children, past and present making their own journeys to the border.
Ever seeking, ever enduring the torturous paths leading to their dreams.
Always compelling: always unveiling the trials of life.
Powerful writing that has left me inquisitive, wondering and wrestling with my thoughts.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-23-19

heart breaker

amazing heart shattering and true to reality narrative and particularly poetic discriptive prose. highly recommended.