Ever since she conquered readers’ hearts and a place on their bookshelves in 2015 at the Passa Porta Festival, we were eagerly looking forward to a new chance to meet Valeria Luiselli. The time has now come. The Mexican writer, who now lives in New York, presents her latest novel, Lost Children Archive. Luiselli’s eighth book is a (provisional) high point in her growing body of work.
In 2015 Valeria Luiselli volunteered as an interpreter: she acted as a translator for young refugees from Mexico seeking legal status in the US. Out of this experience grew an angry, delicate and engaged essay in forty questions (the forty questions she had to ask the refugees): Tell Me How It Ends. This essay from 2017 won the American Book Award.
A socially engaged road novel
Two years later Luiselli has written a counterpart, as it were, to Tell Me How It Ends. Whereas the essay focused on south-to-north migration, in Lost Children Archive Luiselli describes the journey of a Mexican-American family from New York to Arizona as they travel in search of old stories, forgotten rumours and the last sounds of the Apaches.
Intersecting lives and stories
Lost Children Archive is at the least an open-ended road novel. While the family is travelling south, tens of thousands of children are travelling north from Central America without their parents to reach the US border, hoping for a better life. When the family’s children disappear, the two storylines become too close for comfort.
Mexican author Valeria Luiselli (b. 1983) has been widely acclaimed internationally for her work. She has been published in The New York Times, among others, and has now published eight books. Migration and the migration policy of the US are important themes in her work.