#1 New York Times Bestseller
OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK
“This book is not simply the great American novel; it’s the great novel of las Americas. It’s the great world novel! This is the international story of our times. Masterful.”
También de este lado hay sueños. On this side, too, there are dreams.
Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.
Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.
Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?
American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.
Already being hailed as "a Grapes of Wrath for our times" and "a new American classic," Jeanine Cummins's American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Oprah called this book club pick “a novel not just for our times, but for this moment in our times.” American Dirt opens with mother and son Lydia and Luca hiding in a shower stall as a riot of bullets and screaming shatters their world. The book then follows the duo as they flee their hometown of Acapulco and attempt to reach the U.S. border before the attackers find them. Cummins succeeds in putting us in her migrant characters’ shoes, taking us on a 2,645-mile, moment-by-moment odyssey of hardship, terror, tragedy, resilience, and hope. She gives Lydia, Luca, and their traveling companions Rebeca and Soledad compelling and vivid backstories, making tangible everything that is left behind in the journey to el norte. Yes, this is an important, eye-opening read about one of the central news stories of our time, but it’s also an unbelievably gripping novel that makes you wish for more hours in your day.
With this devastating yet hopeful work, Cummins (The Crooked Branch) breathes life into the statistics of the thousands fleeing their homelands and seeking to cross the southern border of the United States. By mere chance, Lydia Quixano P rez and her eight-year-old son, Luca, survive the massacre of the rest of her family at her niece's quincea era by sicarios of the Los Jardineros cartel in Acapulco. Compounding the horror of the violence and loss is the fact that the cartel's leader is a man that Lydia unwittingly befriended in her bookstore. Lydia and Luca flee north to the only refuge that she can imagine: her uncle's family in Denver. North of Mexico City, all other sources of transportation become impossible, so mother and son must risk traveling atop La Bestia, the freight trains that are the only way to reach the border without being seen. They befriend two beautiful sisters Soledad, 15, who is "a living miracle of splendor," and Rebeca, 14 who have fled life-threatening circumstances in Honduras. As the quartet travel, they face terror on a constant basis, with danger possible from any encounter, but also compassion and occasionally even wonder. This extraordinary novel about unbreakable determination will move the reader to the core.
I found this story very moving
It’s a novel first and foremost, so people’s criticism that it wasn’t written by someone from Mexico doesn’t make sense to me. I found the story and the characters compelling and I struggled with them as they made their horrific journey.
If you’re on the fence, read it. Quickly became one of my ALL time top five. Inspired me to go read more books, written by latinx authors. I am aware that Jeannine is not Latin. Her writing is so utterly captivating. Incredible, eye opening, read.