Lost Children Archive (a novel) by Valeria Luiselli

Jockey's Ridge

In this novel, a sound documentarian traveled across country from New York to Arizona to document the story of undocumented refugee children being deported at the southern border. She made the journey with her husband, also a sound documentarian with a historical project on Native American people, and their two young children.

The novel is filled with complex characters, with even the youngest ones having extremely profound thoughts. Furthermore, it is dense with the painstaking details with which the author acknowledges the humanity of the often-dehumanized groups of people. Together, they make this work difficult to read but also impossible to ignore.

The author expects much from her readers. In terms of her writing style, she uses unusual literary techniques and extensive references. They add gravitas to the content, in which the author critically investigates one’s positionality in this country’s history of migration and colonization. This is one of those stories that will stay with you long after you finish the last page.

This is the author’s first novel in English. Luiselli is a winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Her work has also been longlisted for the Booker Prize.

By Magfirah Dahlan
Magfirah Dahlan