“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?
Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
Before the first meeting, please read pages 1 through 69 of Lost Children Archive, ending at the start of “Box II.”