• $15.99

Publisher Description

*NOW A BBC RADIO 4 BOOK AT BEDTIME*
'Breathtaking... I haven't been so entirely consumed by a book for years' Telegraph
'I'll never stop thinking about it' Ann Patchett


FEAR KEEPS THEM RUNNING. HOPE KEEPS THEM ALIVE.

Vivid, visceral, utterly compelling, AMERICAN DIRT is an unforgettable story of a mother and son's attempt to cross the US-Mexico border. Described as 'impossible to put down' (Saturday Review) and 'essential reading' (Tracy Chevalier), it is a story that will leave you utterly changed.

Yesterday, Lydia had a bookshop.
Yesterday, Lydia was married to a journalist.
Yesterday, she was with everyone she loved most in the world.

Today, her eight-year-old son Luca is all she has left.

For him, she will carry a machete strapped to her leg.
For him, she will leap onto the roof of a high speed train.
For him, she will find the strength to keep running.

GENRE
Fiction & Literature
RELEASED
2020
21 January
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
352
Pages
PUBLISHER
Headline
SELLER
Hachette Australia Pty Ltd
SIZE
3
MB

Customer Reviews

rhitc ,

Dirty work

Author
American. Worked in publishing for ten years before becoming a writer. Two previous novels and one memoir.

Plot
In Acapulco, journalist Sebastian, his wife Lydia and their 8-year-old son Luca are attending a family barbecue celebrating the fifteenth birthday (a big deal in Mexico) of one of Luca’s cousins when cartel gunmen burst in gunning for Sebastian, who is an anti-corruption campaigner. Everyone is slaughtered except Luca, who is in the toilet peeing, and his Mum, who manages to drag him into the shower stall to hide. Lydia has no faith in the police investigation because there’s so many corrupt coppers, and knows she and Luca are dead meat if they don’t escape to el norte (the US), which is debatable. Turns out Lydia has been having a platonic dalliance with the head honcho of the local cartel chapter, who is a regular patron of her bookshop. There follows an arduous pursuit narrative, but they make it across the border eventually nd start a new life.

Characters
Lydia and Luca are central and well drawn. The supporting cast of would be illegal migrants and facilitators is strong too.

Narrative
Third person from Lydia’s POV

Prose
Clear and efficient with relevant flashbacks and limited time for indulgent reflection.

Bottom line
Narco-thriller/undocumented immigrant tale well told. Recommended by Oprah no less. However, the (white) author has been the subject of intense criticism/abuse for the heinous (to some) crime of ‘cultural appropriation,’ (New York Times, I’m looking at you). It is worth noting that Ms Cummins dated an undocumented Latino immigrant for five years before she married him, and probably has some insight into the problems she writes about. Lost Children Archive (2019) by Valeria Luiselli covers some of the same ground less effectively IMHO, but is more acceptable to the politically correct brigade because Ms Luiselli is Mexican. To the best of my knowledge, Yassmin Abdel-Magied hasn’t weighed in yet. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

Ndkxmnisnwnsisns ,

A physical journey

I was so inthralled by this book I felt I was on the journey with the characters. Couldn’t put it down. Will read again.

Jimmyboy20000000000008 ,

Amazing

Loved it

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