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Houston Matters

‘Lost Children Archive’ Is A Meditation On Family, And Children Detained At The Border

Writer Valeria Luiselli talks about her latest novel ahead of a Feb. 26 Houston event.


Immigration Teen Detention Camp
Ivan Pierre Aguirre/AP
Migrant teens held inside the Tornillo detention camp in 2018.


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In 2014, there was a flood of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. Most of the thousands detained there were from Central America.

Writer Valeria Luiselli has a new book addressing that situation – her second book, in fact, that touches on the issue.

Her previous book, Tell Me How It Ends, was a non-fiction account of unaccompanied migrant children detained at the border inspired, in part, by her own time volunteering to translate and advocate for those children.

This new book, Lost Children Archive, is a novel. And, in some ways, it mirrors the very real road trip Luiselli and her family took from the northeast down to the border several years ago.

Mainly, it includes a family going through some issues as they make a similar trip. And it includes narratives of migrant children and their ordeal.

Valeria Luiselli is the author of the novel Lost Children Archive.

In the audio above, Luiselli tells Houston Matters producer Michael Hagerty why this issue has captured so much of her attention and why she wanted to write both fiction and non-fiction accounts of it.

Luiselli will be in Houston for an event with Inprint alongside fellow writer Tommy Orange on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at Rice University’s Stude Concert Hall.

Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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