Lost Children sale Archive: A online novel outlet online sale

Lost Children sale Archive: A online novel outlet online sale

Lost Children sale Archive: A online novel outlet online sale

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NEW YORK TIMES 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR • ONE OF BARACK OBAMA''S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: THE WASHINGTON POST • TIME MAGAZINE • NPR • CHICAGO TRIBUNE • GQ • O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE • THE GUARDIAN • VANITY FAIR • THE ATLANTIC • THE WEEK • THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS • LIT HUB • KIRKUS REVIEWS • THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY • BOSTON.COM • PUREWOW

“An epic road trip [that also] captures the unruly intimacies of marriage and parenthood ... This is a novel that daylights our common humanity, and challenges us to reconcile our differences.” The Washington Post

In Valeria Luiselli’s fiercely imaginative follow-up to the American Book Award-winning Tell Me How It Ends, an artist couple set out with their two children on a road trip from New York to Arizona in the heat of summer. As the family travels west, the bonds between them begin to fray: a fracture is growing between the parents, one the children can almost feel beneath their feet.
 
Through ephemera such as songs, maps and a Polaroid camera, the children try to make sense of both their family’s crisis and the larger one engulfing the news: the stories of thousands of kids trying to cross the southwestern border into the United States but getting detained—or lost in the desert along the way.
 
A breath-taking feat of literary virtuosity,  Lost Children Archive is timely, compassionate, subtly hilarious, and formally inventive—a powerful, urgent story about what it is to be human in an inhuman world.

Amazon.com Review


Editors'' pick: Valeria Luiselli deftly blends the personal and the political in this unusual and illuminating road trip." —Erin Kodicek, Amazon Editor

Review

WINNER OF THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN FICTION
WINNER OF THE FOLIO PRIZE

FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD 
FINALIST FOR THE KIRKUS PRIZE FOR FICTION
LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE
LONGLISTED FOR THE ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZE


“Impossibly smart, full of beauty, heart and insight. Everyone should read this book.”
—Tommy Orange, author of There There

“A Great American Novel for our time.”
Vanity Fair
 
“Unforgettable, down to its explosive final sentence. . . . [Luiselli] audaciously stretches the bounds of storytelling.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Virtuosic. . . . The brilliance of the writing stirs rage and pity. It humanizes us.”
The New York Times Book Review
 
“This is a novel that challenges us, as a nation, to reconcile our differences. . . . [The] writing shimmers like its desert setting.”
The Washington Post

“Electric, elastic, alluring, new.”
The New York Times
 
 “A remarkable feat of empathy.”
—NPR
 
“[A] brilliantly intricate and constantly surprising book.”
The New Yorker
 
“[Luiselli’s] language is so transporting, it stops you time and again.” 
O, The Oprah Magazine
 
“Like all great novels. . . . Lost Children Archive is unquestionably timely, [but] it also approaches a certain timelessness.”
Los Angeles Times
 
“Stunning. . . . Uniquely rewarding—and even life-changing.”
The Seattle Times
 
“Delicate, funny, effortlessly poetic.”
The Guardian
 
“Passionate.”
The New York Review of Books
 
“Rollicking. . . A highly imaginative and politically deft portrait of childhood within a vast American landscape.”
Harper’s Magazine

About the Author

Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa, and India. An acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she is the author of the essay collection Sidewalks; the novels Faces in the Crowd and The Story of My Teeth; and, most recently, Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions. She is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant”; the winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, an American Book Award, and the 2021 Dublin Literary Award; and has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award twice and the Kirkus Prize on three occasions. She has been a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and the recipient of a Bearing Witness Fellowship from the Art for Justice Fund. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney’s, among other publications, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. She lives in New York City.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Part I

Family Soundscape

Relocations

An archive presupposes an archivist, a hand that collects and classifies.

—Arlette Farge

To leave is to die a little.

To arrive is never to arrive.

—Migrant prayer

Departure

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 car, spread out, limbs offering, heavy and placid. From the copilot seat, I glance back to check on them every so often, then 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.

Family Lexicon

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.

The boy turned ten yesterday, just one day before we left New York. We got him good presents. He had specifically said:

No toys.

The girl is five, and for some weeks has been asking, insistently:

When do I turn six?

No matter our answer, she’ll find it unsatisfactory. So we usually say something ambiguous, like:

Soon.

In a few months.

Before you know it.

The girl is my daughter and the boy is my husband’s son. I’m a biological mother to one, a stepmother to the other, and a de facto mother in general to both of them. My husband is a father and a stepfather, to each one respectively, but also just a father. The girl and boy are therefore: step-sister, son, stepdaughter, daughter, step-brother, sister, stepson, brother. And because hyphenations and petty nuances complicate the sentences of everyday grammar—the us, the them, the our, the your—as soon as we started living together, when the boy was almost six and the girl still a toddler, we adopted the much simpler possessive adjective our to refer to them two. They became: our children. And sometimes: the boy, the girl. Quickly, the two of them learned the rules of our private grammar, and adopted the generic nouns Mama and Papa, or sometimes simply Ma and Pa. And until now at least, our family lexicon defined the scope and limits of our shared world.

Family Plot

My husband and I met four years ago, recording a soundscape of New York City. We were part of a large team of people working for the New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress. The soundscape was meant to sample and collect all the keynotes and the soundmarks that were emblematic of the city: subway cars screeching to a halt, music in the long underground hallways of Forty-Second Street, ministers preaching in Harlem, bells, rumors and murmurs inside the Wall Street stock exchange. But it also attempted to survey and classify all the other sounds that the city produced and that usually went by, as noise, unnoticed: cash registers opening and closing in delis, a script being rehearsed in an empty Broadway theater, underwater currents in the Hudson, Canada geese flocking and shitting over Van Cortlandt Park, swings swinging in Astoria playgrounds, elderly Korean women filing wealthy fingernails on the Upper West Side, a fire breaking through an old tenement building in the Bronx, a passerby yelling a stream of motherfuckers at another. There were journalists, sound artists, geographers, urbanists, writers, historians, acoustemologists, anthropologists, musicians, and even bathymetrists, with those complicated devices called multibeam echo sounders, which were plunged into the waterspaces surrounding the city, measuring the depth and contours of the riverbeds, and who knows what else. Everyone, in couples or small groups, surveyed and sampled wavelengths around the city, like we were documenting the last sounds of an enormous beast.

The two of us were paired up and given the task of recording all the languages spoken in the city, over a period of four calendar years. The description of our duties specified: “surveying the most linguistically diverse metropolis on the planet, and mapping the entirety of languages that its adults and children speak.” We were good at it, it turned out; maybe even really good. We made a perfect team of two. Then, after working together for just a few months, we fell in love—completely, irrationally, predictably, and headfirst, like a rock might fall in love with a bird, not knowing who the rock was and who the bird—and when summer arrived, we decided to move in together.

The girl remembers nothing about that period, of course. The boy says he remembers that I was always wearing an old blue cardigan that had lost a couple of buttons and came down to my knees, and that sometimes, when we rode the subway or buses—always with freezing air pouring out—I’d take it off and use it as a blanket to cover him and the girl, and that it smelled of tobacco and was itchy. Moving in together had been a rash decision—messy, confusing, urgent, and as beautiful and real as life feels when you’re not thinking about its consequences. We became a tribe. Then came the consequences. We met each other’s relatives, got married, started filing joint taxes, became a family.

Inventory

In the front seats: he and I. In the glove compartment: proof of insurance, registration, owner’s manual, and road maps. In the backseat: the two children, their backpacks, a tissue box, and a blue cooler with water bottles and perishable snacks. And in the trunk: a small duffle bag with my Sony PCM-D50 digital voice recorder, headphones, cables, and extra batteries; a large Porta-Brace organizer for his collapsible boom pole, mic, headphones, cables, zeppelin and dead-cat windshield, and the 702T Sound Device. Also: four small suitcases with our clothes, and seven bankers boxes (15″ x 12″ x 10″), double-thick bottoms and solid lids.

Covalence

Despite our efforts to keep it all firmly together, there has always been an anxiety around each one’s place in the family. We’re like those problematic molecules you learn about in chemistry classes, with covalent instead of ionic bonds—or maybe it’s the other way around. The boy lost his biological mother at birth, though that topic is never spoken about. My husband delivered the fact to me, in one sentence, early on in our relationship, and I immediately understood that it was not a matter open to further questions. I don’t like to be asked about the girl’s biological father, either, so the two of us have always kept a respectful pact of silence about those elements of our and our children’s pasts.

In response to all that, perhaps, the children have always wanted to listen to stories about themselves within the context of us. They want to know everything about when the two of them became our children, and we all became a family. They’re like anthropologists studying cosmogonic narratives, but with a touch more narcissism. The girl asks to hear the same stories over and over again. The boy asks about moments of their childhood together, as if they had happened decades or even centuries ago. So we tell them. We tell them all the stories we’re able to remember. Always, if we miss a part, confuse a detail, or if they notice any minimal variation to the version they remember, they interrupt, correct us, and demand that the story be told once more, properly this time. So we rewind the tape in our minds and play it again from the beginning.

Foundational Myths

In our beginning was an almost empty apartment, and a heat wave. On the first night in that apartment—the same apartment we just left behind—the four of us were sitting in our underwear on the floor of the living room, sweaty and exhausted, balancing slices of pizza on our palms.

We’d finished unpacking some of our belongings and a few extra things we’d bought that day: a corkscrew, four new pillows, window cleaner, dishwashing soap, two small picture frames, nails, hammer. Next we measured the children’s heights and made the first marks on the hallway wall: 33 inches and 42 inches. Then we’d hammered two nails into the kitchen wall to hang two postcards that had hung in our former, respective apartments: one was a portrait of Malcolm X, taken shortly before his assassination, where he’s resting his head on his right hand and looking intently at someone or something; the other was of Emiliano Zapata, standing upright, holding a rifle in one hand and a saber in the other, a sash around one shoulder, his double cartridge belt crosswise. The glass protecting the postcard of Zapata was still covered in a layer of grime—or is it soot?—from my old kitchen. We hung them both next to the refrigerator. But even after this, the new apartment still looked too empty, walls too white, still felt foreign.

The boy looked around the living room, chewing pizza, and asked:

Now what?

And the girl, who was two years old then, echoed him:

Yes what?

Neither of us found an answer to give them, though I think we did search hard for one, perhaps because that was the question we’d also been silently threading across the empty room.

Now what? the boy asked again.

Finally, I answered:

Now go brush your teeth.

But we haven’t unpacked our toothbrushes yet, the boy said.

So go rinse your mouths in the bathroom sink and go to sleep, my husband replied.

They came back from the bathroom, saying they were scared to sleep alone in the new bedroom. We agreed to let them stay in the living room with us, for a while, if they promised to go to sleep. They crawled into an empty box, and after puppying around for the fairest division of cardboard space, they fell into a deep, heavy sleep.

My husband and I opened a bottle of wine, and, out the window, we smoked a joint. Then we sat on the floor, doing nothing, saying nothing, just watching the children sleep in their cardboard box. From where we were sitting, we could see only a tangle of heads and butts: his hair damp with sweat, her curls a nest; he, aspirin-assed, and she, apple-bottomed. They looked like one of those couples who’ve overstayed their time together, become middle-aged too fast, grown tired of each other but comfortable enough. They slept in total, solitary companionship. And now and then, interrupting our maybe slightly stoned silence, the boy snored like a drunk man, and the girl’s body released long, sonorous farts.

They’d given a similar concert earlier that day, while we rode the subway from the supermarket back to our new apartment, surrounded by white plastic bags full of enormous eggs, very pink ham, organic almonds, corn bread, and tiny cartons of organic whole milk—the enriched and enhanced products of the new, upgraded diet of a family with two salaries. Two or three subway minutes and the children were asleep, heads on each of our laps, tangled humid hair, lovely salty smell like the warm giant pretzels we’d eaten earlier that day on a street corner. They were angelic, and we were young enough, and together we were a beautiful tribe, an enviable bunch. Then, suddenly, one started snoring and the other stared farting. The few passengers who were not plugged into their telephones took note, looked at her, at us, at him, and smiled—difficult to know if in compassion or complicity with our children’s public shamelessness. My husband smiled back at the smiling strangers. I thought for a second I should divert their attention, reflect it away from us, maybe stare accusingly at the old man sleeping a few seats from us, or at the young lady in full jogging gear. I didn’t, of course. I just nodded in acknowledgment, or in resignation, and smiled back at the subway strangers—a tight, buttonhole smile. I suppose I felt the kind of stage fright that comes up in certain dreams, where you realize you went to school and forgot to put on underwear; a sudden and deep vulnerability in front of all those strangers being offered a glimpse of our still very new world.

But later that night, back in the intimacy of our new apartment, when the children were asleep and were making all those beautiful noises all over again—real beauty, always unintentional—I was able to listen to them fully, without the burden of self-consciousness. The girl’s intestinal sounds were amplified against the wall of the cardboard box and traveled, diaphanous, across the almost empty living room. And after a little while, from somewhere deep in his sleep, the boy heard them—or so it seemed to us—and replied to them with utterances and mumbles. My husband took note of the fact that we were witnessing one of the languages of the city soundscape, now put to use in the ultimately circular act of conversation:

A mouth replying to a butthole.

I suppressed the desire to laugh, for an instant, but then I noticed that my husband was holding his breath and closing his eyes in order to not laugh. Perhaps we were a little more stoned than we thought. I became undone, my vocal cords bursting into a sound more porcine than human. He followed, with a series of puffs and gasps, his nasal wings flapping, face wrinkling, eyes almost disappearing, his entire body rocking back and forth like a wounded piñata. Most people acquire a frightening appearance in mid-laughter. I’ve always feared those who click their teeth, and found those who laugh without emitting a single sound rather worrisome. In my paternal family, we have a genetic defect, I think, which manifests in snorts and grunts at the very end of the laughing cycle—a sound that, perhaps for its animality, unleashes another cycle of laughter. Until everyone has tears in their eyes, and a feeling of shame overcomes them.

I took a deep breath and wiped a tear from my cheek. I realized then that this was the first time my husband and I had ever heard each other laugh. With our deeper laughs, that is—a laugh unleashed, untied, a laugh entire and ridiculous. Perhaps no one really knows us who does not know the way we laugh. My husband and I finally recomposed ourselves.

It’s mean to laugh at the expense of our sleeping children, yes? I asked.

Yes, very wrong.

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4.2 out of 54.2 out of 5
871 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Brian J. Greene
1.0 out of 5 starsVine Customer Review of Free Product
Dry
Reviewed in the United States on December 8, 2018
I’ll get right to the flaws of this novel. It’s dry and self-centered. The setup is intriguing. A relatively newly married couple, with two kids each from previous relationships, is trying to make a life together. The couple met and connected while working on a research... See more
I’ll get right to the flaws of this novel. It’s dry and self-centered. The setup is intriguing. A relatively newly married couple, with two kids each from previous relationships, is trying to make a life together. The couple met and connected while working on a research project together. But that project is completed and now they are working on separate, individual projects, and that is bringing challenges to their relationship. And then they’re going through all the usual ups and downs of parenting, with the added factor of each of the kids now being raised by a parent who is not their biological mom/dad. The big problem is the author’s first person narrator tells of their lives in a dry way, mostly via her own thoughts and perceptions. I get that this is not an action-based novel, but rather a contemplative one. But it winds up feeling more like a series of journal entries than a story. And the narrator is so self-centered as to be annoying, plus her self absorption makes it so that she never really draws out the other characters enough to make them come to life and seem interesting. Instead of a 400-page novel with so much dry narrative, this should have been a 250-page one where the narrator showed us all that happened among the characters and allowed us room to have our own perceptions about them and their experiences.
147 people found this helpful
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RKB NJ
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Stunning
Reviewed in the United States on February 12, 2019
Tell Me How It Ends is the kind of book I told people about for months after I read it--so I''ve been (im)patiently waiting for Luiselli''s next work. It does not disappoint. It''s beautiful, original, luminous, and provocative. I''m not one to write long reviews. If... See more
Tell Me How It Ends is the kind of book I told people about for months after I read it--so I''ve been (im)patiently waiting for Luiselli''s next work. It does not disappoint.

It''s beautiful, original, luminous, and provocative. I''m not one to write long reviews. If a book moves me, it moves me. If it challenges me, it challenges me. Lost Children Archive did all of that. It''s such a stunning read.

I''d like to get this book into everyone''s hands in the country right now. We all need to think harder and act faster with compassion. This might be a novel, but the lost children? All real.
65 people found this helpful
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G. Dawson
5.0 out of 5 starsVine Customer Review of Free Product
Complex and haunting
Reviewed in the United States on February 6, 2019
I loved this novel. It works on many different levels at once and challenges the mind as well as the heart. On one level, this is a story of a family of four on a cross-country road trip. The parents are sound documentarians (or documentarists—there’s some discussion in... See more
I loved this novel. It works on many different levels at once and challenges the mind as well as the heart. On one level, this is a story of a family of four on a cross-country road trip. The parents are sound documentarians (or documentarists—there’s some discussion in the book about the difference), and they are heading to the American Southwest to capture sounds related to Apaches and unaccompanied refugee children, respectively. Luiselli clearly writes from experience as a parent because she captures the dynamics of a family road trip perfectly. On another level, Luiselli is examining the refugee crisis and the reasons behind it as well as sharing some of the harrowing experiences these children go through. While reading this book, I learned so much about this sad thing that is happening to thousands and thousands of children every year. This “novel” often reads like a non-fiction documentary, and I liked that aspect of it. On a third level, Luiselli’s sentences are beautiful. Near the end, the novel goes into some experimental territory, but I was so into the story by that point that I didn’t mind the longer, more freeform blocks of text and shifting points of view (Virginia Woolf is an influence). This could very well end up being the most powerful novel I read in 2019 (and perhaps also the most well-written one).
78 people found this helpful
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JG
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A timely & thoughtful book that teaches you how to read it and teaches you as you read it
Reviewed in the United States on February 20, 2019
Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive is a novel about borders & families written concurrently with her powerful essay on the same subject Tell Me How It Ends. Where that essay is tight in its scope & focus on the bureacracy of immigration policy, this novel is expansive... See more
Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive is a novel about borders & families written concurrently with her powerful essay on the same subject Tell Me How It Ends. Where that essay is tight in its scope & focus on the bureacracy of immigration policy, this novel is expansive & experimental. Luiselli’s narrator is masterful in her weaving of texts & images & sources--photographs, novels, poems, songs, government documents, and sound recordings all create a multi-faceted entrance to the action. About halfway through the novel, another character--the stepchild of the narrator--takes over the narration. This new narrative POV really pays off, particularly in a whirlwind of a stream-of-conscious chapter late in the novel that must be read to be believed. Lost Children Archive is a surprisingly suspenseful story, for a novel so thorough in literary erudition & historical context. The resolution is cathartic in the Athenian tragic sense of the word: It purges us of pity & fear, and it challenges us to think about what has become of the institutions that rule us, what will become of the polity in which we live.
36 people found this helpful
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Bonnie Brody
2.0 out of 5 starsVine Customer Review of Free Product
Boring and Without Depth
Reviewed in the United States on December 5, 2018
I have given myself a 50-page rule. I''ll read 50 pages of any book and if, by that time I don''t like it, I won''t continue. I read more than 50 pages in this case but could not finish. It is poorly written, the narrative is minimalist and the writing is immature.... See more
I have given myself a 50-page rule. I''ll read 50 pages of any book and if, by that time I don''t like it, I won''t continue. I read more than 50 pages in this case but could not finish. It is poorly written, the narrative is minimalist and the writing is immature.

The characters are nameless, but in a postured and unrealistic way. There is ''the father'', ''the son'', ''the daughter'', etc. There is no depth to the character development. In fact, they seemed like cut-outs to me. The gist of the story is that the husband and the wife meet on an oral history project and later marry. Each has a child from a former relationship and they are integrated into a semblance of a family. They live in New York City and for some obscure reason, the father wants to travel to Arizona to study the history of Apache indians. The wife doesn''t really want to go but they pack up and leave anyway. The wife figures she can study the impact of separating immigrant children from their mothers.

If you want to read a looooonnnnngggg and boring book, this is a definite sleep inducer. How it came to be published is a mystery to me.
69 people found this helpful
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Tammy R. Bopp
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Moving and powerful
Reviewed in the United States on March 3, 2019
The Lost Children Archive provides a powerful look at the current immigration system and a glaring parallel reflection on the atrocities forced on Native Americans. It is a reminder that the echoes of (America’s) history, good or bad, are not erased with time. Luiselli’s... See more
The Lost Children Archive provides a powerful look at the current immigration system and a glaring parallel reflection on the atrocities forced on Native Americans. It is a reminder that the echoes of (America’s) history, good or bad, are not erased with time. Luiselli’s use of a family road trip as a plot format brought love and humanity to this book and made it compulsively readable. Without being preachy, Luiselli reminds us to listen, not just to what is current, but also to the past.
23 people found this helpful
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Susan D
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
brilliant, provocative, challenging fiction for the serious reader
Reviewed in the United States on March 21, 2019
Although I did not read the author''s essay about her experience working with Guatemalan child refugees, this novel makes me think I have to. Although some commenters consider this novel dry or dull, disliking the narrative voice and experimental approach, I wouldn''t listen... See more
Although I did not read the author''s essay about her experience working with Guatemalan child refugees, this novel makes me think I have to. Although some commenters consider this novel dry or dull, disliking the narrative voice and experimental approach, I wouldn''t listen to them if you''re willing to embrace the imaginative connections between reality and fiction in a troubling world. I LOVED it — all the references to Kerouac, Dostoyevsky, Virginia Woolf and many more — and the desire to capture reality even when core truths elude us like fading polaroids and vanishing memories. Reading this novel with its twist on the American road trip, its overlapping voices, its desire for love and family vs. the reality of family life, its portrait of a fracturing marriage, the fears for a world in which children ride trains for a refuge they may not find — left me enlarged. Upset. I read this book in whispersync — which meant I loved the polaroids at the end as much as the audiofiles in the audible version. If I leave off a star, it''s only because I didn''t love the end as much as the beginning when the 10 year old boy''s voice takes over. Even so, I remain highly impressed — and expect I''ll reread the end to reconsider my own POV.
15 people found this helpful
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SArmst2547
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A very unusual book, but maybe you can help me understand it...
Reviewed in the United States on April 27, 2019
I enjoyed this book greatly, but the author uses some literary devices that don''t come in the AP English Composition test. No spoilers, because this is a great book. What do you call it when the children have no names but are referred to simply as... See more
I enjoyed this book greatly, but the author uses some literary devices that don''t come in the AP English Composition test.

No spoilers, because this is a great book.

What do you call it when the children have no names but are referred to simply as "boy" and "girl"?
What do you call it when, in the course of the book, the narrator calls out other Great American Road novels (but without actually critiquing them)? I found this cross-over from the fiction book into canon critique very amusing. (Also, of course, there were some comments I did not understand.)
What do you call it when poetry, polaroid prints and "boxes" (really, mini Tables of Contents) are mixed into the narrative?
Since the narratives are "short" pieces (except for a couple), what do you call it when it looks like a stream-of-consciousness with headers?

Anyway, you get the point: this is not your old-time novel. I really enjoyed it, but I am not sure why the magic overtook me.
12 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Kea Michelle
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Yawn...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 12, 2020
Having just finished American Dirt, which I absolutely loved, I wanted to reach out for another author and read a similar subject but from a fresh and entirely different perspective. I feel bored and deeply disappointed as this book feels pretentious and trys to hard to...See more
Having just finished American Dirt, which I absolutely loved, I wanted to reach out for another author and read a similar subject but from a fresh and entirely different perspective. I feel bored and deeply disappointed as this book feels pretentious and trys to hard to impress. I feel myself shuffling around and irritated, fifty pages in just waiting to be gripped by an exciting story line yet knowing its never going to happen. I feel like the author is showing off and all look at me and how clever I am. You are not clever at all... I am beyone bored at this point and wish you would just get on with the story. You fail to arouse my empathy for literally any of the characters. American Dirt told the story that you didn''t. Please stop trying to impress us with your knowledge and just get on withtelli g a great story.
5 people found this helpful
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Sara
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Enlightening roadtrip novel, rendering the specific universal
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 5, 2020
Cleverly brought an issue of modern America more and more closely in to focus. The first half seemed meandering and rather over intellectualised but was proven completely necessary by the tale as a whole so bear with it.
7 people found this helpful
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hemadude
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
My first time to not recommend a book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 6, 2020
The story is okay but the content is so pretentious. Even when the author is writing from the perspective of the child, you can still discern how unnaturally precocious it is written. More than anything, its just like reading a long overdrawn journal filled with emotionally...See more
The story is okay but the content is so pretentious. Even when the author is writing from the perspective of the child, you can still discern how unnaturally precocious it is written. More than anything, its just like reading a long overdrawn journal filled with emotionally charged yet aimless ranting.
6 people found this helpful
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J. Wood
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A disappointment
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 6, 2020
I thought this was going to be really interesting and at first it was. As a description of a journey through the American hinterland it was initially absorbing but gradually the suspicion that it was a candidate for pseuds corner began to niggle. The mother appeared...See more
I thought this was going to be really interesting and at first it was. As a description of a journey through the American hinterland it was initially absorbing but gradually the suspicion that it was a candidate for pseuds corner began to niggle. The mother appeared unhinged, the children precocious and unbelievable, the father a textbook. In the end it was just boring.
3 people found this helpful
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Sia Jane
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Absolutely magnificent
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 15, 2019
Blown away! I did not want this book to end! I raced through it because I could barely put it down. Filled with emotion and her writing is just magic! A must! Stunning
6 people found this helpful
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Description

Product Description

NEW YORK TIMES 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR • ONE OF BARACK OBAMA''S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: THE WASHINGTON POST • TIME MAGAZINE • NPR • CHICAGO TRIBUNE • GQ • O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE • THE GUARDIAN • VANITY FAIR • THE ATLANTIC • THE WEEK • THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS • LIT HUB • KIRKUS REVIEWS • THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY • BOSTON.COM • PUREWOW

“An epic road trip [that also] captures the unruly intimacies of marriage and parenthood ... This is a novel that daylights our common humanity, and challenges us to reconcile our differences.” The Washington Post

In Valeria Luiselli’s fiercely imaginative follow-up to the American Book Award-winning Tell Me How It Ends, an artist couple set out with their two children on a road trip from New York to Arizona in the heat of summer. As the family travels west, the bonds between them begin to fray: a fracture is growing between the parents, one the children can almost feel beneath their feet.
 
Through ephemera such as songs, maps and a Polaroid camera, the children try to make sense of both their family’s crisis and the larger one engulfing the news: the stories of thousands of kids trying to cross the southwestern border into the United States but getting detained—or lost in the desert along the way.
 
A breath-taking feat of literary virtuosity,  Lost Children Archive is timely, compassionate, subtly hilarious, and formally inventive—a powerful, urgent story about what it is to be human in an inhuman world.

Amazon.com Review


Editors'' pick: Valeria Luiselli deftly blends the personal and the political in this unusual and illuminating road trip." —Erin Kodicek, Amazon Editor

Review

WINNER OF THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN FICTION
WINNER OF THE FOLIO PRIZE

FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD 
FINALIST FOR THE KIRKUS PRIZE FOR FICTION
LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE
LONGLISTED FOR THE ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZE


“Impossibly smart, full of beauty, heart and insight. Everyone should read this book.”
—Tommy Orange, author of There There

“A Great American Novel for our time.”
Vanity Fair
 
“Unforgettable, down to its explosive final sentence. . . . [Luiselli] audaciously stretches the bounds of storytelling.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Virtuosic. . . . The brilliance of the writing stirs rage and pity. It humanizes us.”
The New York Times Book Review
 
“This is a novel that challenges us, as a nation, to reconcile our differences. . . . [The] writing shimmers like its desert setting.”
The Washington Post

“Electric, elastic, alluring, new.”
The New York Times
 
 “A remarkable feat of empathy.”
—NPR
 
“[A] brilliantly intricate and constantly surprising book.”
The New Yorker
 
“[Luiselli’s] language is so transporting, it stops you time and again.” 
O, The Oprah Magazine
 
“Like all great novels. . . . Lost Children Archive is unquestionably timely, [but] it also approaches a certain timelessness.”
Los Angeles Times
 
“Stunning. . . . Uniquely rewarding—and even life-changing.”
The Seattle Times
 
“Delicate, funny, effortlessly poetic.”
The Guardian
 
“Passionate.”
The New York Review of Books
 
“Rollicking. . . A highly imaginative and politically deft portrait of childhood within a vast American landscape.”
Harper’s Magazine

About the Author

Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa, and India. An acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she is the author of the essay collection Sidewalks; the novels Faces in the Crowd and The Story of My Teeth; and, most recently, Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions. She is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant”; the winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, an American Book Award, and the 2021 Dublin Literary Award; and has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award twice and the Kirkus Prize on three occasions. She has been a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and the recipient of a Bearing Witness Fellowship from the Art for Justice Fund. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney’s, among other publications, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. She lives in New York City.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Part I

Family Soundscape

Relocations

An archive presupposes an archivist, a hand that collects and classifies.

—Arlette Farge

To leave is to die a little.

To arrive is never to arrive.

—Migrant prayer

Departure

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 car, spread out, limbs offering, heavy and placid. From the copilot seat, I glance back to check on them every so often, then 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.

Family Lexicon

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.

The boy turned ten yesterday, just one day before we left New York. We got him good presents. He had specifically said:

No toys.

The girl is five, and for some weeks has been asking, insistently:

When do I turn six?

No matter our answer, she’ll find it unsatisfactory. So we usually say something ambiguous, like:

Soon.

In a few months.

Before you know it.

The girl is my daughter and the boy is my husband’s son. I’m a biological mother to one, a stepmother to the other, and a de facto mother in general to both of them. My husband is a father and a stepfather, to each one respectively, but also just a father. The girl and boy are therefore: step-sister, son, stepdaughter, daughter, step-brother, sister, stepson, brother. And because hyphenations and petty nuances complicate the sentences of everyday grammar—the us, the them, the our, the your—as soon as we started living together, when the boy was almost six and the girl still a toddler, we adopted the much simpler possessive adjective our to refer to them two. They became: our children. And sometimes: the boy, the girl. Quickly, the two of them learned the rules of our private grammar, and adopted the generic nouns Mama and Papa, or sometimes simply Ma and Pa. And until now at least, our family lexicon defined the scope and limits of our shared world.

Family Plot

My husband and I met four years ago, recording a soundscape of New York City. We were part of a large team of people working for the New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress. The soundscape was meant to sample and collect all the keynotes and the soundmarks that were emblematic of the city: subway cars screeching to a halt, music in the long underground hallways of Forty-Second Street, ministers preaching in Harlem, bells, rumors and murmurs inside the Wall Street stock exchange. But it also attempted to survey and classify all the other sounds that the city produced and that usually went by, as noise, unnoticed: cash registers opening and closing in delis, a script being rehearsed in an empty Broadway theater, underwater currents in the Hudson, Canada geese flocking and shitting over Van Cortlandt Park, swings swinging in Astoria playgrounds, elderly Korean women filing wealthy fingernails on the Upper West Side, a fire breaking through an old tenement building in the Bronx, a passerby yelling a stream of motherfuckers at another. There were journalists, sound artists, geographers, urbanists, writers, historians, acoustemologists, anthropologists, musicians, and even bathymetrists, with those complicated devices called multibeam echo sounders, which were plunged into the waterspaces surrounding the city, measuring the depth and contours of the riverbeds, and who knows what else. Everyone, in couples or small groups, surveyed and sampled wavelengths around the city, like we were documenting the last sounds of an enormous beast.

The two of us were paired up and given the task of recording all the languages spoken in the city, over a period of four calendar years. The description of our duties specified: “surveying the most linguistically diverse metropolis on the planet, and mapping the entirety of languages that its adults and children speak.” We were good at it, it turned out; maybe even really good. We made a perfect team of two. Then, after working together for just a few months, we fell in love—completely, irrationally, predictably, and headfirst, like a rock might fall in love with a bird, not knowing who the rock was and who the bird—and when summer arrived, we decided to move in together.

The girl remembers nothing about that period, of course. The boy says he remembers that I was always wearing an old blue cardigan that had lost a couple of buttons and came down to my knees, and that sometimes, when we rode the subway or buses—always with freezing air pouring out—I’d take it off and use it as a blanket to cover him and the girl, and that it smelled of tobacco and was itchy. Moving in together had been a rash decision—messy, confusing, urgent, and as beautiful and real as life feels when you’re not thinking about its consequences. We became a tribe. Then came the consequences. We met each other’s relatives, got married, started filing joint taxes, became a family.

Inventory

In the front seats: he and I. In the glove compartment: proof of insurance, registration, owner’s manual, and road maps. In the backseat: the two children, their backpacks, a tissue box, and a blue cooler with water bottles and perishable snacks. And in the trunk: a small duffle bag with my Sony PCM-D50 digital voice recorder, headphones, cables, and extra batteries; a large Porta-Brace organizer for his collapsible boom pole, mic, headphones, cables, zeppelin and dead-cat windshield, and the 702T Sound Device. Also: four small suitcases with our clothes, and seven bankers boxes (15″ x 12″ x 10″), double-thick bottoms and solid lids.

Covalence

Despite our efforts to keep it all firmly together, there has always been an anxiety around each one’s place in the family. We’re like those problematic molecules you learn about in chemistry classes, with covalent instead of ionic bonds—or maybe it’s the other way around. The boy lost his biological mother at birth, though that topic is never spoken about. My husband delivered the fact to me, in one sentence, early on in our relationship, and I immediately understood that it was not a matter open to further questions. I don’t like to be asked about the girl’s biological father, either, so the two of us have always kept a respectful pact of silence about those elements of our and our children’s pasts.

In response to all that, perhaps, the children have always wanted to listen to stories about themselves within the context of us. They want to know everything about when the two of them became our children, and we all became a family. They’re like anthropologists studying cosmogonic narratives, but with a touch more narcissism. The girl asks to hear the same stories over and over again. The boy asks about moments of their childhood together, as if they had happened decades or even centuries ago. So we tell them. We tell them all the stories we’re able to remember. Always, if we miss a part, confuse a detail, or if they notice any minimal variation to the version they remember, they interrupt, correct us, and demand that the story be told once more, properly this time. So we rewind the tape in our minds and play it again from the beginning.

Foundational Myths

In our beginning was an almost empty apartment, and a heat wave. On the first night in that apartment—the same apartment we just left behind—the four of us were sitting in our underwear on the floor of the living room, sweaty and exhausted, balancing slices of pizza on our palms.

We’d finished unpacking some of our belongings and a few extra things we’d bought that day: a corkscrew, four new pillows, window cleaner, dishwashing soap, two small picture frames, nails, hammer. Next we measured the children’s heights and made the first marks on the hallway wall: 33 inches and 42 inches. Then we’d hammered two nails into the kitchen wall to hang two postcards that had hung in our former, respective apartments: one was a portrait of Malcolm X, taken shortly before his assassination, where he’s resting his head on his right hand and looking intently at someone or something; the other was of Emiliano Zapata, standing upright, holding a rifle in one hand and a saber in the other, a sash around one shoulder, his double cartridge belt crosswise. The glass protecting the postcard of Zapata was still covered in a layer of grime—or is it soot?—from my old kitchen. We hung them both next to the refrigerator. But even after this, the new apartment still looked too empty, walls too white, still felt foreign.

The boy looked around the living room, chewing pizza, and asked:

Now what?

And the girl, who was two years old then, echoed him:

Yes what?

Neither of us found an answer to give them, though I think we did search hard for one, perhaps because that was the question we’d also been silently threading across the empty room.

Now what? the boy asked again.

Finally, I answered:

Now go brush your teeth.

But we haven’t unpacked our toothbrushes yet, the boy said.

So go rinse your mouths in the bathroom sink and go to sleep, my husband replied.

They came back from the bathroom, saying they were scared to sleep alone in the new bedroom. We agreed to let them stay in the living room with us, for a while, if they promised to go to sleep. They crawled into an empty box, and after puppying around for the fairest division of cardboard space, they fell into a deep, heavy sleep.

My husband and I opened a bottle of wine, and, out the window, we smoked a joint. Then we sat on the floor, doing nothing, saying nothing, just watching the children sleep in their cardboard box. From where we were sitting, we could see only a tangle of heads and butts: his hair damp with sweat, her curls a nest; he, aspirin-assed, and she, apple-bottomed. They looked like one of those couples who’ve overstayed their time together, become middle-aged too fast, grown tired of each other but comfortable enough. They slept in total, solitary companionship. And now and then, interrupting our maybe slightly stoned silence, the boy snored like a drunk man, and the girl’s body released long, sonorous farts.

They’d given a similar concert earlier that day, while we rode the subway from the supermarket back to our new apartment, surrounded by white plastic bags full of enormous eggs, very pink ham, organic almonds, corn bread, and tiny cartons of organic whole milk—the enriched and enhanced products of the new, upgraded diet of a family with two salaries. Two or three subway minutes and the children were asleep, heads on each of our laps, tangled humid hair, lovely salty smell like the warm giant pretzels we’d eaten earlier that day on a street corner. They were angelic, and we were young enough, and together we were a beautiful tribe, an enviable bunch. Then, suddenly, one started snoring and the other stared farting. The few passengers who were not plugged into their telephones took note, looked at her, at us, at him, and smiled—difficult to know if in compassion or complicity with our children’s public shamelessness. My husband smiled back at the smiling strangers. I thought for a second I should divert their attention, reflect it away from us, maybe stare accusingly at the old man sleeping a few seats from us, or at the young lady in full jogging gear. I didn’t, of course. I just nodded in acknowledgment, or in resignation, and smiled back at the subway strangers—a tight, buttonhole smile. I suppose I felt the kind of stage fright that comes up in certain dreams, where you realize you went to school and forgot to put on underwear; a sudden and deep vulnerability in front of all those strangers being offered a glimpse of our still very new world.

But later that night, back in the intimacy of our new apartment, when the children were asleep and were making all those beautiful noises all over again—real beauty, always unintentional—I was able to listen to them fully, without the burden of self-consciousness. The girl’s intestinal sounds were amplified against the wall of the cardboard box and traveled, diaphanous, across the almost empty living room. And after a little while, from somewhere deep in his sleep, the boy heard them—or so it seemed to us—and replied to them with utterances and mumbles. My husband took note of the fact that we were witnessing one of the languages of the city soundscape, now put to use in the ultimately circular act of conversation:

A mouth replying to a butthole.

I suppressed the desire to laugh, for an instant, but then I noticed that my husband was holding his breath and closing his eyes in order to not laugh. Perhaps we were a little more stoned than we thought. I became undone, my vocal cords bursting into a sound more porcine than human. He followed, with a series of puffs and gasps, his nasal wings flapping, face wrinkling, eyes almost disappearing, his entire body rocking back and forth like a wounded piñata. Most people acquire a frightening appearance in mid-laughter. I’ve always feared those who click their teeth, and found those who laugh without emitting a single sound rather worrisome. In my paternal family, we have a genetic defect, I think, which manifests in snorts and grunts at the very end of the laughing cycle—a sound that, perhaps for its animality, unleashes another cycle of laughter. Until everyone has tears in their eyes, and a feeling of shame overcomes them.

I took a deep breath and wiped a tear from my cheek. I realized then that this was the first time my husband and I had ever heard each other laugh. With our deeper laughs, that is—a laugh unleashed, untied, a laugh entire and ridiculous. Perhaps no one really knows us who does not know the way we laugh. My husband and I finally recomposed ourselves.

It’s mean to laugh at the expense of our sleeping children, yes? I asked.

Yes, very wrong.

Product information

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Lost Children sale Archive: A online novel outlet online sale

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Lost Children sale Archive: A online novel outlet online sale

Lost Children sale Archive: A online novel outlet online sale

Lost Children sale Archive: A online novel outlet online sale

Lost Children sale Archive: A online novel outlet online sale

Lost Children sale Archive: A online novel outlet online sale

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