Lost Children Archive II: Really?

First of all, it makes me sad that this blog is the last one that I will write for this class. It has been good to share my thoughts with all of you guys, and tell you my perspectives about the different books we have read and discussed during this term. I will miss to have the liberty of writing about anything I decide, and don’t feel the pressure to think that anyone will judge me for what I posted in my blogs. So, thank you for the work we all have done during this term.

With respect to the book, once again, I don’t know where is that I should begin. I have to recognize that in no way did I imagine that when the title of the book makes reference to the ‘archive of lost children’, it would include both: 1) the children migrants who get lost in the desert  trying to cross to the US; and 2) the couple’s own children who get lost trying to get to the Echo Canyon. Once I get to this part of the book, it was very difficult to stop because I was interested to know what will happen at the end.

I remembered that last week, some of us agree that the story lacked some drama and suspense, not meaning this that it was less interesting, but perhaps different from the other books we read. However, after reading the second part of the book, I can affirm that this book has indeed a lot of suspense. This is also a sad story. There are different parts of the book that make me feel bad. For instance, the condition of the migrant children, who are left to their fate in the desert. As well as the fact that many of them do not reach the finish line, as was the case of Manuela’s children. I don’t like either that at the end, the couple couldn’t reconcile their differences and the two sibling (Memphis and Pluma Ligera) had to be separated. 

The relationship between these two children is something that makes me feel overly tender. It is so nice and cute the way in which Pluma Ligera takes care of his sister. The part of the book that is my favorite, is when he leaves his recording so that Memphis could remember him and everything that happened, all the adventures that both of them overcome. I realized that the parts I like the most is when he tells from his own perspective, how is that the trip was developing. I like his own reflections about the world. He is a very mature boy, who understands very well what is occurring at that moment. He is aware of the problems that his parents are facing; he sees how worried and sad his mother is due to the circumstances of the lost children; he even understands the complex social issue behind those children’s  lives.

Somehow, when he tells the story, everything is simpler, fresher, more realistic, purer, and with more love.

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  1. Pamela, thanks for this post, and thanks for all your contributions to the class. I love the way you describe the blogs, as a place where you “have the liberty of writing about anything I decide, and don’t feel the pressure to think that anyone will judge me for what I post.” That’s just how I hope you see them.

    I wonder, incidentally, if you read the book in Spanish. That’s fine, but just as you noted last week that the Spanish translation had the title as “Desierto sonoro,” so here I’m interested that you are calling the boy “Pluma Ligera.” That’s not quite the same as “Swift Arrow.” And both details make me think about the role of translation within the book–remember that this is how the mother enters into the story of the “lost children,” because she is working as a translator in the New York court system. As we all know, something is always lost in translation. But sometimes something is added, too. The story being translated becomes a new story. I think that Luiselli is interested in these changes that take place as stories are transmitted, translated, passed down… from parents to children, for instance.

    And so the boy’s version of the story may not be quite the same as the parents’, but I’m interested in how you say it may be “more realistic, purer, and with more love.” I’m not sure about that; in some ways, for instance, it is surely less realistic, because it is a bit more like a fairy tale or myth (as I think someone else mentioned). It’s like Peter Pan and the lost boys. I’d also add that it is neither better nor worse. But it is definitely a different perspective, and this is a book that celebrates multiple perspectives, like the different points of views that we have been collectively articulating through these blogs and in our discussions.

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