Chasing After Life: Migrating Childhoods in Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive


  • Aparna Mishra Tarc York University



This essay engages the border-crossing poetics of transnational migration through an engagement with Valeria Luiselli’s fictional depictions of migrant children in her novel Lost Children Archive. Engaging the migrating and intertextual forum of children’s witness and memory in the novel, I follow Luiselli’s moving depiction of child migrants as wholly undocumented and lost people outside the adult world of articulation. I argue that Luiselli’s novel documentation conjures up historical, contemporary, and autobiographical memories of migrant and displaced children comprising the colonial story of modernism. I consider children’s articulations, construction and witness of migration through my readings of the stories of migrating childhood delivered by Luiselli’s fictional depiction. I find, Luiselli’s moving rendition of children’s migration presents new challenges to educational and popular discourses of childhood, migration, and the responsibilities of the adult communities.

Author Biography

Aparna Mishra Tarc, York University

Aparna Mishra Tarc is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education, York University. She was formerly an elementary school teacher in Canada and abroad. Professor Tarc’s scholarship and teaching is committed to engaging education through the knowledge of children and young people as first-hand witnesses to social and political thought, event, and history. She is an award-winning author of many articles and two books: Literacy of the Other: Renarrating Humanity and Pedagogy in the novels of J. M. Coetzee. The Affect of Literature.