Elisa Wouk Almino at The Millions:
Luiselli’s book, Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions, out now from Coffee House Press, is an attempt to record, in English, what didn’t get translated. For while she also writes books in Spanish, she had no trouble deciding which language to write the one distilling her experiences in court. The versions of these children’s stories that do already exist in English, in the media primarily, are incomplete and oversimplified, and the ones packaged for the courts are not much better.
It was in 2014 when she first learned that tens of thousands of children were turning themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol after arduous, perilous journeys from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and other places. This would widely become known as an immigration crisis that to this day continues, where unaccompanied children have been fleeing escalating violence across Central America.
The numbers are staggering and the circumstances harrowing. To make these journeys, children travel on the backs of trains and cross deserts with limited water supply, where they also run the risk of being kidnapped and murdered. If you are a girl crossing the border from Mexico, there is an 80 percent chance that you will be raped; many take birth control as a precaution. Too many of these children, some as young as two years old, are sent back. Mexican children don’t stand a chance, as they can be deported immediately under U.S. policy if Border Patrol determines they meets certain conditions.