Books

Lost Children Archive

A novel by Valeria Luiselli.

Valeria Luiselli

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 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. (From Knopf)

From the book

Mouths open to the sun, they sleep. Boy and girl, foreheads pearled with sweat, cheeks red and streaked white with dry spit. They occupy the entire space in the back of the far, spread out, limbs offering, heavy and placid. From the copilot seat, I glance back to check on them every so often, they turn around again to study the map. We advance in the slow lava of traffic toward the city limits, across the GW Bridge, and merge onto the interstate. An airplane passes above us and leaves a straight long scar on the palate of the cloudless sky. Behind the wheel, my husband adjusts his hat, dries his forehead with the back of his hand.


From Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli ©2019. Published by Knopf.

Interviews

From Mexico and New York, and many places in between, a conversation with the virtuoso young writer, Valeria Luiselli. The National Book Foundation named her one of its “5 Under 35” award. An exciting new voice and original sensibility. 52:44