Book Review

LOST CHILDREN ARCHIVE by Valeria Luiselli

Rating: 4 / 5

I have heard so many fantastic reviews of LOST CHILDREN ARCHIVE by Valeria Luiselli, so I was happy to pick it up when I needed a book featuring immigration.

LOST CHILDREN ARCHIVE follows a family on the road, a mother and a father with their two children. Both having been single parents, they met, fell in love, and merged their families while working on a project to record the sounds of New York. With that project done, they now are moving on to new things and those things may be different for each of them.

They pack up what they can in boxes and pack up the car to drive cross country to Apacheria, the place once inhabited by the Apaches, a people who fascinate the father. The mother is caught up in the immigration crisis at the border she keeps hearing about on the radio. Thousands of kids have been lost, detained at the U.S. border or just lost and missing.

I found this book fascinating and even moreso on audio. The format of the book switches POVs between the parents and the children’s perspectives. The audio includes extra embellishments like sounds being recorded and added effects and multiple voices to enhance the storytelling. The book really weighs into the idea of oral storytelling tradition which is highlighted on audio.

I will say that this book wasn’t what I really expected. The main focus really is on the breakdown of the family relationship and the strain that creates as they move across the country. I did expect a bit more about the lost children, but I thought the author did a good job of bringing those painful truths into the story. The children, known primarily as ‘the boy’ and ‘the girl’ will most likely be separated as their parents go their separate ways and the parents themselves weight the consequences of the loss as well.

I thought this was beautifully written. There were times when the pace felt a bit slow, but I really was engrossed in the language and the story as a whole.

Reading Challenges:

#AroundTheYearIn52Books – a book involving an immigrant

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