Lost Children Archive

Lost Children Archive

Book - 2019
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"From the two-time NBCC Finalist, a fiercely imaginative novel about a family's summer road trip across America--a journey that, with breathtaking imagery, spare lyricism, and profound humanity, probes the nature of justice and equality in America today. A mother and father set out with their kids from New York to Arizona. In their used Volvo--and with their ten-year-old son trying out his new Polaroid camera--the family is heading for the Apacheria: the region the Apaches once called home, and where the ghosts of Geronimo and Cochise might still linger. The father, a sound documentarist, hopes to gather an "inventory of echoes" from this historic, mythic place. The mother, a radio journalist, becomes consumed by the news she hears on the car radio, about the thousands of children trying to reach America but getting stranded at the southern border, held in detention centers, or being sent back to their homelands, to an unknown fate. But as the family drives farther west--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 feel beneath their feet. They are led, inexorably, to a grand, unforgettable adventure--both in the harsh desert landscape and within the chambers of their own imaginations. Told through the voices of the mother and her son, as well as through a stunning tapestry of collected texts and images--including prior stories of migration and displacement--Lost Children Archive is a story of how we document our experiences, and how we remember the things that matter to us the most. Blending the personal and the political with astonishing empathy, it is a powerful, wholly original work of fiction: exquisite, provocative, and deeply moving"-- Provided by publisher.
"A novel about a family of four, on the cusp of fracture, who take a trip across America--a story told through varying points of view, and including archival documents and photographs"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2019
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780525520610
Branch Call Number: F LUI
Characteristics: 383 pages ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Mar 24, 2020

Feb-March 2020

Mar 14, 2020

Barack Obama recommendation

Feb 07, 2020

I don't know what to say but perhaps the times we live in have allowed us to expect this sorry mess to be described as a novel. I'll carry on trying but it seems to be painting by numbers mixed with some bizarre notion of profundity. I like nothing more than a mixed media approach to the novel but this is reportage and navel gazing and an ill-formed oddity. Very disappointed.

PimaLib_SWBooks Feb 06, 2020

This book was submitted for consideration for the 2019 Southwest Books of the Year list in the Fiction category!

Jan 13, 2020

NYT 2019 Top 10

Dec 30, 2019

Inspired by the experiences of desperate children crossing the desert to get to US and the history of the Apache warriors making their last stand, framed by a fictionalized version of a road trip this Mexican born writer took from New York to Cochise County with her husband and two kids. For the first half , narrated by an unnamed woman, we are with the family in the Volvo wagon, diners and rented cabins while the parent patiently and loving execute the task of caring for the children while worrying about the “lost children” and giving history lessons of the Apache. The structure is around 7 boxes of material the family has taken with them, 4 for the husband, 1 for each the wife the kids. The boxes are inventoried at the beginning of the chapters with lists of books and other literary materials bearing on the parents' research. This is how the author references her intensely allusive prose. It contains a book within the book "elegies for Lost children" purportedly by an Italian author but is descriptive of the struggle of the lost children in current border crisis.
The second part narrated by the ten-year-old boy contains a single sentence that runs on for 20 pages. An astonishing work of literature.

Nov 24, 2019

Top 10 Books of 2019 New York Times

The Mexican author’s third novel — her first to be written in English — unfolds against a backdrop of crisis: of children crossing borders, facing death, being detained, being deported unaccompanied by their guardians. The novel centers on a couple and their two children (all unnamed), who are taking a road trip from New York City to the Mexican border; the couple’s marriage is on the brink of collapse as they pursue independent ethnographic research projects and the woman tries to help a Mexican immigrant find her daughters, who’ve gone missing in their attempt to cross the border behind her. The brilliance of Luiselli’s writing stirs rage and pity, but what might one do after reading such a novel? Acutely sensitive to these misgivings, Luiselli has delivered a madly allusive, self-reflexive, experimental book, one that is as much about storytellers and storytelling as it is about lost children.

Nov 06, 2019

Oh, spare me. Way too wordy.

Nov 04, 2019

A misguided mess. I only rated it this high because there were some moments of insight and clarity amidst the folly.
A timely book about migration - told through the story of a disintegrating family on a long road trip from NYC to Arizona. Two adults and two children, all unnamed - just boy, girl, husband, wife; a gaining-in-popularity conceit that annoys the hell out of me. The parents are activists - she for the child migration crisis at the border, he for the history of genocide of Native Americans. Somehow, both of those issues are equated with the impending divorce and break-up of this family and delineated through an overly indulgent, look-at-my-MFA highly stylized storyline featuring lists of the contents of archive boxes, Polaroids, and a 20-page single sentence near the end. All that and two of the most unbelievable, philosophical, mystical children ever written. Obviously not for me.

Sep 19, 2019

booker 2019 longlist

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at OCFPL

To Top