16 comments on “Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli | Book Review

  1. Hmmmm I don’t always mind excessive intertextuality (The Friend comes to mind, she was jumping from literary reference to literary reference every other paragraph and I found it oddly exhilarating) but there’s something about epigraphs on EVERY CHAPTER that I find so off-putting. Also, a 30 page long sentence?! Dear lord.

    • Same! I love it when it feels like every reference adds something or has earned its place. Here, it just felt like the author was patting herself on the back (to me, at least). Lots of people seem to have loved it though, so hopefully you’ll click with it more than me!

  2. I have been trying to read this book for weeks now. I can never convince myself to read it. There is just something about the writing that I find very difficult to connect to. But, I think once I made it through this one and Swan Song, the rest of the longlist should be breeze.

    • That’s very much how I felt about it too. I can understand why it’s on the longlist, given its themes, but the style just wasn’t for me, sadly.

      I’ve started An American Marriage, but after that, I think I’m going to get Swan Song out the way so I can hopefully breeze though the rest as well!

  3. I love the way you wrote your review, you have a very nice style. I was considering listening to this book but it seems like its format isn’t too good for that!

  4. Pingback: The Liebster Award #5 | Naty's Bookshelf

  5. Great review! I’d been considering this one but I might leave it for a while. Child POV is hard to nail but so tedious to read when poorly done.

  6. Pingback: Reading the Women’s Prize Longlist | Wrap Up, Wish List & Shortlist Predictions | Callum McLaughlin

  7. It’s funny because I feel like I can almost see exactly where our reading experiences diverged. I thought the book lists worked to give a context for the characters, although I can see how they could easily come off as pretentious. I agree that the side-by-side comparison of a family breaking apart due to divorce and migrant children separated from their families could come across as distasteful and lacking in empathy, but to me it felt more like it was emphasizing the fact that we can acknowledge that others suffer more but are still entitled to hold our own suffering in the magnitude it hits us. While one thing may be objectively worse, they can both still subjectively earth-shattering.

    I also felt like the adult tone of the child was intentional and liked it — but I also dislike realistic children’s narration for the most part, so that is veeery subjective for me. I wholeheartedly agree that Native Americans should have been acknowledged as still existing and not merely relegated to history, but I felt that demonstrated the tendency of white men (the husband) to focus on history and miss the existing present problems just because they aren’t impacted by them.

    Anyway! I can absolutely see your points and understand them completely. We essentially ended up reading different things, I think, because of the way we interpreted everything. I’m sorry this didn’t end up working for you! I really enjoyed reading your review, though, and thought all your criticisms made sense.

    • These are all such valid points! I totally get why you engaged with this one, and like you said, it seems to be one that comes largely down to interpretation.

      Whilst Luiselli’s style didn’t work for me, I wholeheartedly respect what she was doing, and actually think this is a solid contender for the shortlist 😊

    • I’m in a Goodreads group that chose this as a group read and there was this WHOLE THING in our discussion about whether or not we think the husband was deliberately portrayed as an Obtuse White Man, or whether his romanticization of Native American history is an extension of Luiselli’s own views. I’m leaning toward the fact that his portrayal as a dumb white dude was intentional, since the wife’s perspective felt very much like auto-fiction and I don’t think Luiselli was projecting onto the other characters in the same way, but I also feel like if this were the case, she could have maybe driven the point home a bit better?

      • I agree with that! If that was her intent, it was not blatantly obvious at all. I know there was a brief mention of the MC’s grandmother being a Native Mexican so I’d have to hope she had an awareness of what she was doing. Who knows, though!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s