Lost Children Archive

I had lowered my expectations for this novel, as per Jon’s request, but I have honestly found it easier to read than Bless Me Ultima or Gregorio Cortez. Particularly, I have found the style of writing quite interesting. It is seemingly uninteresting and anticlimactic – there are no names for the characters (which I have not figured out why yet), the dialogue is rather dry and the conflicts we’ve seen so far are anti-dramatic. Instead, it is written in a self-reflexive nature, where Luiselli’s thoughts turn in and upon themselves.  In fact it seems that the book is written in such a way that is analogous to comparing a movie with a documentary; while a movie is full of action and expression and music that enhances every scene, a documentary is raw, dry and simply following the actions of the characters with no embellishments. I somewhat appreciate this about Luiselli’s writing, because it makes the events seem real and untainted. Moreover, like a documentary, Luiselli’s writing envelops the reader in such a way that it seems we are there with them I their 1996 Volvo wagon. That we are there as they drive across the country and make their pit stops to eat and drink and sleep.  

The title is also very intriguing… the meaning and purpose of it seems to be unravelling slowly as the novel goes on. For starters, the husband, wife and kids had brought archives with them – the boxes of books and audio recordings in their trunk – and they are attempting to find new material to add. However, the “lost children” part remains more mysterious. We do, however, have some idea thanks to the wife helping Manuela get her daughters into America. (I am realizing now that other characters have names while the main family does not, why is that?). When Manuela calls to say that they had lost their case and the girls have disappeared somewhere between New Mexico and Arizona, it seems that Luiselli had an ah-ha moment that her novel must be for “the children who are missing, those whose voices can no longer be heard because they are, possible forever, lost”. I think that this is such an intriguing way to write, because it seems as though we were brought on Luiselli’s journey to find her purpose and her passion. It seems as though we were included in the process of writing this book, as well as included in discovering the the how, why and for whom it was written.

4 thoughts on “Lost Children Archive

  1. Hi Madeson!

    Interesting take on your blog post. While reading the book, I constantly found it bland, boring, and hard to read. Personally, I think Luiselli asks TOO MANY questions. In some cases, it seems like a book of philosophical questions with no answers. And not in a good way either; seemingly rambling on and pondering life’s mysteries.

    However, though I don’t like the writing style of the book, you make a good point that through her imagery and intense description of the world around her I do feel immersed in the story and in her family’s Volvo Wagon. There’s some cognitive dissonance with me and this book; feeling so bored with it yet enjoying the fact that I feel a part of their road trip and experiences.

    Take care!

    -Curtis HR

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  2. Hi Madeson!

    I like your reflection about why is that, possibly, Luiselli chose to talk about the lost children after she began her own reflexive process where we, as her audience, also participate. I have not thought about it in that way. But, maybe that’s what happened.

    In regard to what you say about the names, I also agree. What happened to me is that I didn’t realize that the book did not offer any name, until I began to write my own blog post. I also did not notice that maybe the only name we have in the book is Manuela. But not the main character’s names.

    Finally, like you, I am also enjoying to read this book so much. I also said that is Luiselli’s prose what makes this story so interesting. I like the way in which you describe her writing style. I think it’s very accurate. Specifically, I found problems in choosing the right way too describe how is that she writes, and once I read in your blog the word “self-reflexive”, I actually said yeah that’s what I was trying to say haha.

    -Pamela.

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  3. Hey chica!

    I also have lowered my expectations and I braced myself as I read the first few pages. I’m glad that I’m enjoying it so far tho.

    Although you said it’s anticlimactic, I believe the part where she figures out why she’s doing what she’s doing is pretty climactic to me. She didn’t have a direction and purpose at first, something her husband obviously has. But when she had that moment of figuring out what to do, it was a turning moment (for me at least) and I felt like “okay things are gonna start going somewhere from hereon.”

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  4. Hi Madeson!

    I really liked your point in the second paragraph. At first I was quite confused when I first started reading the novel because it didn’t really touch on the full meaning of the title of the novel, but as I continued reading I started to understand it a little more. It does seem as if we’re following Luiselli’s train of thoughts in creating her idea for her novel and her purpose for what she wants to write. As I continue reading this novel I further my understanding of the motive and choice of the novel’s title and message.

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