Lost Children Archive I: What should I say about this book? It has so many things …

I am really enjoying reading this book. I find it very interesting, and the story captured me since the beginning. However, while I like the book and the story it tells, I have not decided what to write about in this blog. There are so many topics inside this book, that I don’t really know how to organize them into a coherent blogpost.

One obvious topic that the book mentions is the political environment of the US and the terribly sad stories of the thousands of children who try to cross the Mexico-US border illegally. These stories are well-known for many of us. Yet, the perception that the book offers, is maybe, more humane than the political commercialized version we are used to see at the TV. The wife, who is the one that tells the story, has herself a particular concern on how to document the realities of these forgotten children who are in search of a refuge in the US. She does not want to use these children’s testimonies as a political flag or a commodity to sell in the media in order to create the audience’s pity.

Other topic I found recurrent is the problems that the marriage faces during their travel from New York to Arizona. It is kind of curious how the wife found different circumstances and events in order to compare what is happening to her and to her marriage. For instance, we found her making connections between her marital crisis and the sentences she reads in her strange books. She compares her marriage with songs, dance choreographies, and I would even say with landscapes. It’s interesting but also sad how the story changes from being a ‘happy’ couple to a more ‘frustrated marriage’. She is lost, captive in his husband’s project, and while she ended fighting for her own project, she is still complying with her husband in the decision to travel with him. She is really in love, I would say, but she is also very encabronada about the situation. I like her character. She is both, strong and weak. I like the way she tells her own story, how she manages for going from very sophisticated literature ideas to simple and random events about her children. I like her prose.

Other fascinating topic of this book is childhood, and the particular way in which the mother represents this stage of life for her own children. I felt bad for myself, at the beginning, when I saw that these two siblings have more adventurous lives that I had when I was a child. There a variety of books that these children have read, or maybe know about. They seem to have a very interesting and unique musical taste. Their comments and arguments are sometimes more accurate or compelling of what I admit thinking in my head. Are these children real? I mean, are there really children that can express their ideas, dreams and opinions in the way these children can?  Anyway, I really admire these two little characters and I think this is something that caught my attention because of the way in which childhood is represented here in comparison with the childhood of Antonio in Bless Me, Ultima; or of Esperanza in The House on Mango Streets; even of Piri in Down These Mean Streets. I don’t know, maybe the difference relies in the fact that, in this book, we are told about the children since their mother’s perspective; while the other stories are told by the children themselves.

Random fact: I found that the title of the book is Lost Children Archive in the English version. However, in the Spanish version, the title is Desierto Sonoro. Why would you think that the author decided to change the title for the two versions? What does the title mean for each version?  Is this a kink?

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  1. Hey Pamela!
    I’m really enjoying this novel as well! After reading your blog post I started thinking about how many of the things that are presented in the novel find a way to connect with each other. It is interesting how the music they listen to or the books the different family members are reading find a way in relating to either the marriage situation or the mother’s project. Also, I started realizing that though the projects that the mother and father are working on are different they still share some similar aspects, such as the similar grievances and ill treatments that are presented in both projects. I’ve also liked how the mother goes through this process of analyzing how she wants her project to be understood. The fact is that she does not want to be another person that simply uses the stories of these children to gain audiences or to make it political, her simple desire is to share the real human side of these lost children.

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