The Literature of Valeria Luiselli

Claire Messud at the NYRB:

Valeria Luiselli, New York City, January 2019

Between The Story of My Teeth and Lost Children Archive, Luiselli wrote a slim, memorable volume of nonfiction, Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions(2017), expanded from an essay that appeared in Freeman’s magazine in 2016. (This was her second nonfiction book: her first, Sidewalks, from 2010, is an allusive and, again, cleverly fragmented series of meditations on topics ranging from Joseph Brodsky’s grave, to bicycling, to the empty spaces in Mexico City.) In the course of applying for permanent resident status in the United States, Luiselli and her family took a road trip in the summer of 2014, from New York to Cochise County, Arizona, near the US–Mexico border. The following year, back in New York, she became a volunteer interpreter in the federal immigration court. The essay reconstructs both Luiselli’s initiation into the world of immigration courts (including the lives of several of the vast number of children seeking asylum) and her family’s journey across the southern US by car. As Latin Americans, they attract questions from policemen, one of whom remarks sardonically, “So you come all the way down here for the inspiration.” She notes that “since 2006, around 120,000 migrants have disappeared in their transit through Mexico,” and that “between April 2014 and August 2015, more than 102,000 unaccompanied children had been detained at the [US] border.”

more here.

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