From the current crisis of migration and displacement, comes a twist on the American road trip novel in a station wagon rather than a covered wagon. It's also a novel about storytellers and storytelling and how we document our experiences. As well, it is a story of family, marriage, and parenthood.
The father is a sound documentalist, hoping to gather an "inventory of echoes" of vanquished Apache warriors. The mother, a radio journalist, doumentarian, and volunteer translator for a handful of the thousands of misplaced children held in detention centers.
Narrated by the mother and son, the novel also contains excerpts from various texts, song lyrics and images. The book is highly inventive and compelling in eloquent and beautiful prose.
The author, Valerie Luiselli, is young (born in 1983 in Mexico City), but already an accomplished author of one other novel and three books of non-fiction. Among the latter is a 2017 work called Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions that is based on her experiences volunteering as an interpreter for young Central American migrants seeking legal status in the United States. It was a National Book Award finalist.