Header image with four cats and the text: Pussreboots, a book review nearly every day. Online since 1997
Now 2024 Previous Articles Road Essays Road Reviews Author Black Authors Title Source Age Genre Series Format Inclusivity LGBTA+ Artwork WIP

Recent posts

Month in review

All Summer Long by Hope Larson
Bat and the End of Everything by Elana K. Arnold
Circle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen
Eggs Benedict Arnold by Laura Childs
Elegant Yokai Apartment Life, Volume 1 by Hinowa Kouzuki
Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz
Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts
The Fire Cat by Esther Averill
Fire Monks: Zen Mind Meets Wildfire at the Gates of Tassajara by Colleen Morton Busch
Heartwood Hotel 1: A True Home by Kallie George
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake
Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos by Lucy Knisley
Knife Edge by Andrew Lane
Like Vanessa by Tami Charles
Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
Mothership by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal
Murders and Metaphors by Amanda Flower
An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim
Prose and Cons by Amanda Flower
The Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum
A Scandal in Scarlet by Vicki Delany
Secret Coders 6: Monsters & Modules by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes
Skyward: The Story of Female Pilots in WWII by Sally Deng
A Sprinkle of Spirits by Anna Meriano
The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence
An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagen
Wee Sister Strange by Holly Grant
You Are Light by Aaron Becker

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (April 01)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (April 08)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (April 15)
Looking ahead to July
March 2019 Sources
March 2019 Summary
Reading for Work
The value of ebooks

Road Essays
FF0000: Orphans to the city by way of the interstate

CCFFFF: Siblings to Utopia by Way of the Cornfield: a reading of "Slumber Party.

CCFFCC: Siblings through the maze to utopia

CCFF99: siblings to utopia via the labyrinth

Road Narrative Update for March 2019

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

Beat the Backlist 2024

Ozathon: 12/2023-01/2025

Canadian Book Challenge: 2023-2024

Chicken Prints
Paintings and Postcards

Privacy policy

This blog does not collect personal data. It doesn't set cookies. Email addresses are used to respond to comments or "contact us" messages and then deleted.

Lost Children Archive: 04/12/19

Lost Children Archive

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli is a run of the mill road narrative wrapped up in a literary fiction package. Actually it's two such narratives strung together, one in two parts serving as the bookends to a shorter one.

The narrator of the longer of the two narratives is the mother/step-mother. Her husband has decided to uproot the entire family to record the sounds of the south west. In particular, he's oddly fascinated with Geronimo and the Bedonkohe band of Apaches.

The mother / narrator, meanwhile, while also interested in recording sounds for posterity is more concerned with the present and the separating of immigrant children from their parents. This is a real, current, and terrible thing that is happening.

But for all the narrator's thoughts on the matter, the novel really never does anything with this current events. She speaks of trying to help a mother whose sons were deported to Mexico but never arrived at their destination and she exchanges some telephone calls with her, but nothing really comes of this plot thread.

Instead, upon arrival in Arizona, the narrator suddenly changes to the son. Throughout the trip he has been in charge of keeping the trunk organized: his parents boxes and his and his sister's boxes. For reasons all his own, he decides to rifle through one of them. What he finds inspires him to take his step-sister on a journey to a wilderness spot marked on one of the maps.

For previous books, when there are multiple narratives or multiple destinations, I have chosen to take the highest ranking one. Thus for the purpose of my project, it's the children's journey that counts.

By marriage, these two children are siblings. Sibling (CC) travelers are the second most powerful (in terms of their ability to survive or succeed against insurmountable odds). Their destination is the wildlands of Arizona, a spot marked on a map, a spot they have heard about in stories while in the car (99). Their method of getting there is not too dissimilar to their trip to Arizona: a straightforward, fixed path, except it's via the railroad instead of the interstate (00).

Outside of this novel being an American road narrative, it's really nothing special. It uses the tropes of would-be literary fiction in an attempt to set itself apart from more genre aware books. Quotation marks are avoided for most things, rendering all the dialog into a bland monotone. The mother's ties to indigenous Mexico somehow is supposed to absolve the family's racist comments about the Apache. Finally, there is the author's choice to not name any of the family members. They are just "Ma, Pa, the Boy, the Girl." That approach can work (see Last Year at Marienbad (1961) but it doesn't for this novel.

Three stars

Comments (0)

Lab puppy
Email (won't be posted):
Blog URL:

Twitter Tumblr Mastadon Flickr Facebook Facebook Contact me

1997-2024 Sarah Sammis