Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli review – border crossings

This post is by Lucy Hughes-Hallett from Books | The Guardian

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A New York family takes a road trip south, in this rigorous and beguiling novel about child migrants on the US-Mexico border that has been longlisted for the Women’s prize

A family of four, in which neither child is child to both parents, leaves New York and drives towards the borderlands of Arizona. In the back of the car, along with the usual luggage, are seven boxes. Those belonging to the adults contain books and documents, CDs and newspaper cuttings. Those belonging to the children, aged five and 10, are initially empty but fill up over the course of the journey with images and transcriptions of sounds, traces of their experiences along the way.

The novel is like those boxes. Orderly in arrangement, eccentric in the selection of its contents, it is at once intellectually rigorous and engagingly humane. Into it is crammed an account of love’s fade-out, a tender ...