The New York Times

Missing Children

VALERIA LUISELLI’S LATEST NOVEL TRACES THE YOUNGEST CASUALTIES OF THE BORDER CRISIS.

“Lost Children Archive

By Valeria Luiselli

416 pages. Alfred A. Knopf. $27.95.

Last summer, when the American government separated thousands of migrant children from their parents — detaining them far apart and sometimes losing track of children — the outcry was visceral, and full-throated enough to provoke a stampede of storytelling by activists and journalists. There seemed to be an imperative, both professional and moral, to pay particular attention to the experiences of the children. There was a duty to humanize them, to counter political language such as “illegal alien.” But what such stories really hope to do is humanize their readers, listeners, spectators: the desensitized consumers of news. The reporting aims to make us see beyond legal, national or partisan labels into the hearts of migrants, to awaken us to empathy. Which of us who has loved a child wouldn’t be moved by the evocative details of innocence snagged on the jagged fences of adult circumstance? This newspaper, for one, told of the mooing that resonated at bedtime through a converted Walmart superstore in Texas where

This article originally appeared in .

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from The New York Times

The New York Times6 min read
Fear, Anxiety and Hope: What It Means to Be a Minority in Gaming
(Circuits) Five years after “Gamergate,” little seems to have changed in the industry for minorities, women and members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community. Here are six stories of people trying to change that.
The New York Times7 min read
Ali Wong Is Crossing Lines Again,This Time in a Book
The star of two uproarious Netflix comedy specials is nervous about how people will react to her essay collection. “I hope my siblings don’t get pissed at me,” she says.
The New York Times4 min read
When You Take a Great Photo, Thank the Algorithm in Your Phone
Not too long ago, tech giants like Apple and Samsung raved about the number of megapixels they were cramming into smartphone cameras to make photos look clearer. Nowadays, all the handset-makers are shifting focus to the algorithms, artificial intell