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Delve Online Fall 2020: Lost Children Archive

October 15 – November 5, 2020
Thursdays, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (four sessions)
online via Zoom

“We walked out onto Broadway, into the late morning, and the city was buzzing, the buildings high and solid, the sky pristine blue, the sun bright—as if nothing catastrophic were happening.”

Valeria Luiselli’s newest novel ​Lost Children Archive ​contrasts a privileged existence in a time laden with myriad state-funded horrors. It begins with a woman in New York who records soundscapes for NYU, translating for a mother from Tlaxiaco whose two children are held in a Texas detention facility. As the unnamed narrator learns more about the hundreds of detention facilities imprisoning migrant youth, she is compelled to leave New York with her family to drive to Arizona. Her plan is to interview these detained children, uplift their stories, and provide a perspective on the US family-separation policy from those most affected by it: the children.

This text combines autobiography, fiction, poetry, photography, and literary criticism. The tone of the work ranges from general apathy to acute horror. This breadth of style gives Luiselli the ability to dissect border policy from various perspectives, always asking the questions: Have we revelled in our privilege for too long? What can we do now to mitigate these horrors?

READING LIST:

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli

FIRST ASSIGNMENT:
Before the first meeting, please read pages 1 through 69 of Lost Children Archive, ending at the start of “Box II.”

Benjamin McPherson Ficklin

Benjamin McPherson Ficklin is the author of the chapbook 'A Cynical View of Dystopian America.' Their work has been published in Lomography, wildness, Ursus Americanus Press, STORGY, Clackamas Literary Review, Tahoma Literary Review, Autre, Oregon Voice Magazine, and recognized in Best Small Fiction 2019 and Best American Essays 2020.
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