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American Dirt (Large Print / Library Binding)

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American Dirt By Jeanine Cummins Cover Image

Staff Reviews

I hope many of you have read Valeria Luiselli’s book, Lost Children Archive. (She’s coming to QRB in March of 2020.) If the plight of the immigrant is something you care about, please read American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins.

Lydia and Luca have witnessed a terrible violence to their family and are trying to get to the US by riding trains and following a paid coyote. Along the way they befriend others who are also escaping from horrors. Although the Luiselli and Cummins books are fiction, they depict very realistically the desperation that drives these people to leave everything they know for the unknown, the fear that accompanies them on their journey, and the danger they face at every step. No one would take such a desperate action unless it was their only recourse.

The back cover of the advanced reading copy claims that it's one of the most anticipated books of 2020. My wish is that it is also one of the most talked-about.

— Mamie


American Dirt put me through the wringer. This harrowing and beautiful story is an edge-of-your-seat thriller, a tear-jerking melodrama, an all-too-topical morality play. It made me think ”There for the grace of God go I.“ It made me think about the meaning of the word “American.” And it made me want to re-read “Love in the Time of Cholera.” What more could you ask for?

— Tony

February 2020 Indie Next List

American Dirt is a beautiful, heartbreaking odyssey, a vivid world filled with angels and demons, one I only wanted to leave so I could get my heart out of my throat. Cartel violence sends a mother and her son careening north from Acapulco toward the relative safety of the United States, and every moment of their journey is rendered in frantic, sublime detail. Danger lurks around the corner of every paragraph, but so does humanity, empathy, and stunning acts of human kindness. You will feel the toll of every mile, the cost of every bullet, and the power of every page. A wonder.”
— Thatcher Svekis, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Santa Monica, CA


--Stephen King

"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."
--Sandra Cisneros

Tambi n de este lado hay sue os. On this side too, there are dreams.

Lydia Quixano P rez 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.

About the Author

Jeanine Cummins is the author of three books: the novels The Outside Boy and The Crooked Branch and the bestselling memoir A Rip in Heaven. She lives in New York with her husband and two children.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781432872243
ISBN-10: 1432872249
Large Print: Yes
Publisher: Thorndike Press Large Print
Publication Date: February 5th, 2020
Language: English

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