Lost Children Archive

A Novel
Length: 11 hrs and 16 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (431 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In cart

Publisher's Summary

"Impossibly smart, full of beauty, heart and insight.... Everyone should read this book." (Tommy Orange)

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 10-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 US 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.

Includes a PDF of visuals from the book.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Valeria Luiselli (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“The novel truly becomes novel again in Luiselli’s hands - electric, elastic, alluring, new.... She is a superb chronicler of children: the daughter and son feel piercingly real - perceptive, irreplaceable, wonderfully odd. The book [is] an archive of curiosities, yearnings, animated by the narrator’s restless energy.... It breaks out of the rhythms of the road trip, into a heart-stopping climax." (Parul Sehgal, The New York Times)

“Daring, wholly original, brilliant...fascinating. What Luiselli has pulled off here is a twist on the great American road trip novel, a book about alienation that chronicles fractures, divides, and estrangement - of both a family and a country. It’s a remarkable feat of empathy and intellectuality that showcases Luiselli’s ability to braid the political, historical, and personal while explicitly addressing the challenges of figuring out how to tell the very story she’s telling. Luiselli is an extraordinary writer [with] a freewheeling novelist’s imagination.” (Heller McAlpin, NPR)

“Engrossing...constantly surprising - a beguiling mixture of the real and the doubly invented; a passionately engaged book [with] intellectual amplitude and moral seriousness, [and] a beautiful, loving portrait of children and of the task of looking after them. The kids are utterly alive, hurling questions and mangling adult signals: we are with the family, inside their Volvo wagon, or looking over their shoulders as they eat in diners and stay in motels. It is a pleasure to be a part of the narrator’s family; just as pleasurable is the access we gain to the narrator’s mind - a comprehensive literary intelligence.” (James Wood, The New Yorker)

What members say
Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    263
  • 4 Stars
    96
  • 3 Stars
    51
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    9
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    284
  • 4 Stars
    64
  • 3 Stars
    24
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    12
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    241
  • 4 Stars
    86
  • 3 Stars
    42
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    8

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Ground Control to Major Tom

I consume most of my books on audio at this point, and I feel like sometimes I'm missing out.  For example, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous must be read, whereas, Daisy Jones and the Six was enhanced by the audio experience.  At first I thought this book should be read.  It's narrated by the author, and I found her narration rather flat, though I was utterly enchanted by her mild accent. 

But this is a book about (among other things) the sounds in our lives and after about an hour of listening, I knew this book was designed for audio and nobody could have read it but the author.  This book felt deeply personal - as if she were telling us about this point in her life.  A crossroads where relationships and careers should be examined.  

There's a road trip, the border crisis, history, a girl with a brother, a boy with a Polaroid, a man with mission, a woman with a map and children .... Lost. Found. Other.  

It's a multi-media experience (the audio comes with a 30-page PDF) and great decisions in the audio performance that I feel would have been lost in the reading.  

It was an original story, relateable and beautifully told. 

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful, heart wrenching, unusual

This book is beautiful but heartbreaking knowing what we know about children in detention camps, families separated, children dying on their impossible journey, but also about the beauty of children’s imaginations and resilience.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

ECHO...O...O...

This novel is not written in the more conventional way. At times it feels more like poetry than prose. It is full of analogies, parallels, correlations and "echos." It's about a family, no proper names are given, on a road trip from New York to Arizona. The why, how and when of the trip are all part of the story.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Loved the author’s mission but not the book

Found it cold and distant. Though was an interesting notion to call her daughter “the girl” and stepson “the boy”, there was enough of a lack of warmth in this slow, plodding tale that I couldn’t finish it after hours of listening. Could not make it till the end.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Novela digna de inmigrantes y apaches

Excellently written, thought-provoking tale about deported (and lost) children. The narrative goes between a 30-something woman and her 10-year-old stepson as they and her husband and her 5-year-old daughter (husband's stepdaughter) travel from NY to AZ. The novel is interspersed with stories about deported children and the Apache tribe of native Americans, and is, unsurprisingly, peppered with scathing commentary on past and current U.S. immigration policies.

Unfortunately, the book seems plagued by the familiar MFA-grad malady: the novel's pristine sentences travel well in the clever construction of an *admirable to really good* novel... but appears to ail from a deficiency in real ambition---avoiding risk-taking ensures a novel proofed to ridicule by peers--and a seeming shortage of existential authenticity.

By the end, I found this novel edifying but thought it lacked the primary colors and subtle shading that transform fiction into transcendent art.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great Audiobook

Switched from reading this to the audiobook because I was under a deadline to get it finished and had a painting project to do at the same time. What a pleasant surprise! A fantastic audiobook! When the story is about documenting sounds, echoes, stories - how fitting to hear rather than read those stories! So much more powerful as an audiobook!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting and thoughtful

I enjoyed the four narrators. The story was very different and not what I was expecting. Good insights on migration issues and I liked that she brought the past into perspective with the historical Apache references. It was thought-provoking. A good read.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Complex

The basic storyline of this book is quite unique & intriguing. Nevertheless, the writing style is extremely complex & creative with so many tangents I found my thoughts wandering extensively while listening. For me, this particular book is not a good audio book fit. It may be better in hardcopy.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Breathtaking in every way

This book is so well written and engaging. I am so glad I chose the audio version as it is read by the author, and by and young boy. It also has recorded soundscapes in the background. I cried a lot while listening to this, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a book that will alter them forever.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Multi-Media format and touching story

Timely and touching story. Audible comes with PDF showing images in the book and excellent performances by the family narrators in the book.

I look forward to more from this author.