The 2019 LMU Common Book is Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions, by Valeria Luiselli. Join us November 7 at 1 p.m. in Ahmanson Auditorium (Uhall 1000) for a talk by the author.
Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa and India. An acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she is the author of the essay collection Sidewalks; the novels Faces in the Crowd and The Story of My Teeth; and, most recently, Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions. She is the winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes and an American Book Award, and has twice been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kirkus Prize. She has been a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and the recipient of a Bearing Witness Fellowship from the Art for Justice Fund. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney’s, among other publications, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. She lives in New York City.
The LMU Common Book program is designed to unite the LMU community in a common intellectual endeavor that goes beyond the classroom. Luiselli’s book offers a touchstone for discussing meaningful and contemporary issues related to immigration, child detention and border control. Moreover, the book’s accessible and elegant prose provides space for conversations about forms of narrative, rhetoric and stylistics. The Guardian review said, “In this compelling, devastating book, Luiselli documents the huge injustices done to the children by both the American and Mexican governments, and by the public who treat them as ‘illegal aliens,’ rather than as what they truly are: refugees of war.”
Luiselli worked as an interpreter for dozens of children and teen migrants who crossed Mexico to reach the United States, needing help as they pressed their legal cases for asylum. She structured her book on the 40 questions that are asked of those undocumented Central American children facing deportation. “Tell Me How It Ends” was the winner of an American Book Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism and the Kirkus Prize for nonfiction.
The William H. Hannon Library co-directs the LMU Common Book Program with the Academic Resource Center.