Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
This was very tough to get into, and I’d say for the first 25% I was ready to abandon it. It started out very thinky and talky and I was afraid there’d be little plot. I kept giving it another shot because it was for book club. I felt like she felt about reading Kerouac on page 76: “I read like I had to finish an infinite bowl of lukewarm soup.” It was the kind of book that would throw a word at you like “edulcorated.” I’m 50 and I’ve polished off a fair number of books. This was a new one on me.
I’d say about halfway through, the plot got strong. About 75% of the way through, though, I wasn’t at all sure anymore. But at the end, I just said: Wow. It was just plain beautiful and powerful.
Do you want the plot? Couple, 10-year-old boy, and 5-year-old girl drive from NYC to the southwest for the father’s research project on Apaches and the mother’s attempts to help an immigrant locate her two missing undocumented little girls. First half or so is narrated by the mother. The ‘marriage is ending’ – this plot point is part of what gave me intense dislike in the first 25%, but let me not start complaining about that. Second half or so is narrated by the boy. I don’t think I’ll give away any spoilers, but things do happen.
I have to on balance give it only 3 stars because it threatened to lose me so often.