okiecozyreader's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging tense slow-paced
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

3.0

This book started out interesting to me - a (unnamed) woman with a daughter and an (unnamed) man with a son, meet while recording a sound project for nyc - what different languages and sounds exist in the city. They eventually leave NYC after their project is finished. The father wants to create an "inventory of echoes" in the legendary land of the Apaches while the mother (of Mexican descent, like the author) wants to help a Mexican woman she met in NYC and translated for - to find her children, who escaped into the United States but were captured by the border and are in custody waiting to go back across the border. They begin a road trip across the country, staying at cheap inns and re-reading the same books, while both growing further apart.

I felt like the book read like literary / contemporary fiction until about half way when it got to New Mexico, then it was not just unpleasant, but difficult to read. Not just because the content was difficult, but the older child tells some of the story (without paragraphs and adult writing). It’s quite the journey, which I’m glad to be through.

“Whenever the boy and the girl talk about child refugees, I realize now, they call them ‘the lost children.’ I suppose the word ‘refuge’ is more difficult to remember. And even if the term ‘lost’ is not precise, … the refugees become known to us as ‘the lost children.’ And in a way, I guess, they are lost children. They are children who have lost the right to a childhood.” P75

“Generosity in marriage, real and sustained generosity, is hard. It implies accepting that our partner needs to move one step father away from us, maybe even thousands of miles away, it’s almost impossible.” P82

“Unhappiness grows slowly. It lingers inside you, silently, surreptitiously. You nourish it, feeding it scraps of yourself every day - it is the dog kept locked away in the back patio that will bite your hand off if you let it. Unhappiness takes time, but eventually, it takes over completely. And then happiness - that word - arrives only sometimes, and always like a sudden change of weather.” P 104

“Everything that was there between Arkansas and Oklahoma was not there: Geronimo, Hrabal, Stanford, names on tombstones, our future, the lost children, the two missing girls.
   All I see in hindsight is the chaos of history repeated, over and over, re-enacted, reinterpreted… And in the middle of it all, tribes, families, people, all beautiful things falling apart, debris, dust, erasure. 
  But finally, there is something. … The story I have to record is not the story of children who arrive… The story I need to document is not that of the children in immigration courts.. but the story I need to tell is the one of the children who are missing, those whose voices can no longer be heard because they are, possibly forever, lost.” P146

“The only thing that parents can really give their children are little knowledges… Ans what children give their parents, in return, is something less tangible but at the same time larger and more lasting, something like a drive to embrace life fully and understand it, on their behalf, so they can try to explain it to them… Children force parents to go out looking for a specific pulse, a gaze, a rhythm, the right way of telling the story, knowing that stories don’t fix anything or save anyone but maybe make the world more complex and more tolerable. And sometimes, just sometimes, more beautiful. Stories are a way of subtracting the future from the past, the only way of finding clarity in hindsight. p185

“I wanted to remind her that even though those children were lost, we were not lost, we were there, right next to her.” P208

bizy's review against another edition

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dark emotional mysterious slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

emsutherland14's review against another edition

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challenging emotional slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

rsya's review against another edition

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reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

17jw_aggie's review against another edition

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challenging dark slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

1.5

mirandareadsca's review against another edition

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4.0

This isn't the type of book I typically would listen to as an audiobook, but I'm so glad I did. The sound effects used, the change of narrators, it all helped bring the story to life. I really appreciated how the book focused on one particular family who was going through their own travels and separations, and used that to delve into the hardships children detained at (or sent back from) the US border are facing. I felt a real connection to the children in the story, even if their given names were never mentioned, and just kept hoping their family could stay together.

I'd say this book was headed towards a 5 star, but things got confusing towards the end. In the audio version, the narrators were switching mid-sentence, and it became difficult to follow along what was the story about the main character children, or what was a story about the lost children (either from The Elegies of Lost Children, or the migrant children). It took me out of the book a bit at what was a more emotional part of the book, hence the deducted star. Still would definitely recommend though!

akosmia's review against another edition

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challenging emotional sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

layton93's review against another edition

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challenging reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

emmalovesbooksandcoffee's review against another edition

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dark tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.0

bexellency's review against another edition

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2.5

Hmm.  This started interesting and read amazingly like a memoir while being a novel.  And so unusual to make the parents professions audio recording professionals.  But then the book got weird and slow and in the end
Spoiler nothing happened?  What happened?  We totally lost the story of the immigrant children?  The story was told by one of the children and was any of it real?
.  Didn’t work for me.