How one of publishing’s most hyped books became its biggest horror story — and still ended up a best seller

Lila Shapiro in Vulture:

On a mild Monday this past February, a tense meeting unfolded in a skyscraper in downtown Manhattan. Four Latinx writers and activists sat on one side of a long conference table. Facing them was a collection of white editors and executives from Macmillan, the publishing house that had recently put out American Dirt, the most controversial book of the year, or maybe the century. A representative of Oprah Winfrey’s listened in on the phone, and a platter of sandwiches sat on the table. “I wouldn’t eat the sandwiches,” recalled Myriam Gurba, one of the activists. “Those are the enemies’ sandwiches.”

In the months leading up to American Dirt’s publication, Macmillan had positioned the page-turner — about a mother and son escaping cartel violence in Mexico — as a definitive chronicle of the migrant experience. Prominent readers had praised it in terms worthy of a Nobel Prize. The novelist Don Winslow called it “a Grapes of Wrath for our times.”

More here.