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Lost Children Archive

Luiselli, Valeria. (2019). Lost Children Archive: A Novel. New York: Knopf.


Fiction, Novel.

Novel of how a woman and her daughter and a man and his son become a family. They live as a family for some years then break apart. It starts in New York City where the couple meet working on a sound project. Sound plays an important part in the novel. Sound is described in detail, as you read , you can imagine you are hearing the sounds. It is interesting how this common thread is woven throughout the novel. It seems that this sound project brings and holds the couple together but as each develop their own different goals the family begins to slowly fall apart. The husband wants to go West to study the Apaches. The wife has developed an interest in helping undocumented people. The family takes a trip from New York to the West and their goal location is the Chiricahua Mountains in Arizona. This is where Geronimo and Cochise, two legendary Apaches were located at one time. Interwoven in the story about the family, the wife writes another story called an elegy which is defined as a poem of serious reflection typically a lament for the dead. This story describes the journey of children trying to find their way to America. These stories intersect in an interesting way. Since I was raised close to where the story ends up, the journey the children take is far fetched. Sound is used again in an interesting way at the end of the novel. A potential reason for the family breaking is a line written that states, “ Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams, this maybe madness.”


Author was winner of 2020 Rathbones Folio Prize. Winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Winner of the Folio Prize. NHCC Book Club 2020.


Review by Elaine S. Reyes, NHCC Docent and Book Club Member.

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