Review: Lost Children Archive

Good morning my loves!

I hope you’ve had a fabulous week! Today’s review is of a book that I think will end up being one of my favourite books of the year, possibly of all time, and that is Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli.


A mother and father set out with their kids from New York to Arizona. In their used Volvo–and with their ten-year-old son trying out his new Polaroid camera–the family is heading for the Apacheria: the region the Apaches once called home, and where the ghosts of Geronimo and Cochise might still linger. The father, a sound documentarist, hopes to gather an “inventory of echoes” from this historic, mythic place. The mother, a radio journalist, becomes consumed by the news she hears on the car radio, about the thousands of children trying to reach America but getting stranded at the southern border, held in detention centers, or being sent back to their homelands, to an unknown fate.

But as the family drives farther west–through Virginia to Tennessee, across Oklahoma and Texas–we sense they are on the brink of a crisis of their own. A fissure is growing between the parents, one the children can feel beneath their feet. They are led, inexorably, to a grand, unforgettable adventure–both in the harsh desert landscape and within the chambers of their own imaginations.

Told through the voices of the mother and her son, as well as through a stunning tapestry of collected texts and images–including prior stories of migration and displacement–Lost Children Archive is a story of how we document our experiences, and how we remember the things that matter to us the most. Blending the personal and the political with astonishing empathy, it is a powerful, wholly original work of fiction: exquisite, provocative, and deeply moving.

My review

While I had seen this one about and thought I’d love it, even putting it on my most anticipated reads list, I didn’t expect to love it quite as much as I did. A novel with a family road trip at its core, but it is so much more than that. Migration, displacement, family and what that means. Our lives and how we document it, and for whom. The deterioration of the relationship between husband and wide, how the son picks up on this and tries to keep the family together.

“They are children who have lost the right to a childhood.”

This book left me absolutely reeling, for days afterwards. I struggled to give words to how it made me feel. It was long listed for the 2019 women’s prize for fiction and I wish it had been shortlisted. It would definitely have been my winner.

Lost Children Archive is a new all-time favourite that I have a feeling will stay with me for years to come. This is not action packed, so if that it something you are looking for. What this book will do however is grip you and not let you go until you’ve finished the last page.

Please read this book, I promise you will not regret it.

Peace and pages

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