I am ending the first part of the Lost Children Archives, but I am still wondering who are the lost children in this book. As far as I am concerned all the characters in this book are kind of “lost children”.
Naturally, she notes that they refer to refugee children, many of whom are missing, as “lost children”. She explains: “These are children who have lost the right to a childhood”. Part of the book is devoted to the story of these missing voices, or more precisely how she can tell the story of these thousands or millions of forgotten voices in order to give sense to this human tragedy. A crucial question that runs through the book is about the legitimacy of telling such a story. Indeed, the narrator, who is a journalist by training, criticizes this “fashion” of sensationalism that is de rigueur in journalism, portraying immigrants as aliens and insisting on the urgency of this crisis. Another question is about who should be the main subjects of her sound documentary. Indeed, at the beginning of the book she starts with the idea of recording the voices of these children in the courtrooms but changes her mind in the will to tell the story of these children who are forgotten because they are lost or missing.
However, this is only an almost minority part of the book, which makes me think that the lost children are not just those refugee children. The children in this peculiar family are also the lost children. Through their questions, their imagination, their maps, the Polaroid camera, the children are trying to make sense of both their family’s crisis and the larger story of thousands of children trying to cross the southwest border of the United States. Although the children’s lives seem to depend on the outcome of their parents’ marriage, they seem to express their agency through a particular understanding of their surroundings. These children are lost in the complexity of the world and their uncertain place in the future of this family on the point of breaking up, even as their parents try to hide this tragedy from them.
Last but not least, as far as the parents are concerned, it is also about lost children. Lost Children Archive begins with the journey not of a refugee child, but of an unhappily married couple. It is difficult to understand the reasons for their love because of the permanent “silence” that reigns in this couple. The parents are also lost children because they seem more concerned about their own feelings and plans than about the fate of their family. The father looked into this Apache project without even telling his wife and without evaluating the concrete possibility of carrying it out. Moreover, throughout the book, the mother is very cold with all the members of the family as if she were disconnected from this reality. It is as if the parents were dreaming of being able to rewrite their whole life again, forgetting that they themselves had forged this reality. Parents are lost, but they are also children because they are locked in their own reality, imagination and dreams.