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American Dirt (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel (Hardcover)

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(Fiction)

Staff Reviews


The United States has manufactured and supplied most of the guns that arm the Mexican drug cartels, the armed cartels that have destroyed the tourist-based economies of coastal cities like Acapulco and Tijuana, and have given Mexico 6 of the 10 deadliest cities in the world (in 2019). Against this background, Jeanine Cummins has produced an indisputably great American novel. The first ten chapters of "American Dirt" made my heart stop. Lydia, the wife of a crusading journalist in Acapulco, and her 8 year old son Luca (an "aspy" obsessed with geography facts) are fleeing from a drug cartel hit ordered on her family. Lydia can assume that every other policeman is in the pay of the narcotraficante, and every cell phone has an alert with her description and photo. The novel chronicles the real challenges of today's migrants: finding food and shelter, avoiding thieves and assault, hopping trains, and making a border crossing that requires physical stamina and luck. I think that if enough people read this novel, it will move hearts and minds to empathy and action.

— From Carla's Picks

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

Description


#1 New York Times Bestseller
OPRAHS BOOK CLUB PICK

Extraordinary.
Stephen King

This book is not simply the great American novel; its the great novel of las Americas. Its the great world novel! This is the international story of our times. Masterful.
Sandra Cisneros

Tambin de este lado hay sueos. On this side, too, there are dreams.

Lydia Quixano Prez 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 theyll 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 buytwo 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 Lydias husbands 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 bestiatrains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javiers reach doesnt 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 the bestselling novel American Dirt, as well as The Outside Boy and The Crooked Branch, and the bestselling true crime memoir A Rip in Heaven. She lives in New York with her husband and two children.

Praise For…


Editors Choice from The New York Times Book Review
#1 Indie Next Pick for February
January 2020 Library Reads Pick

A Most-Anticipated Book of the Season/Year: The New York Times O, The Oprah Magazine Vogue Marie Claire Real Simple Elle Entertainment Weekly Womans Day Literary Hub Parade Chicago Tribune The Washington Post Time Fast Company Forbes Esquire USA Today PopSugar Bustle The New York Times Book Review

American Dirt just gutted me, and I didnt just read this bookI inhabited it.Everything about this book was so extraordinary. Its suspenseful, the language is beautiful, and the story really opened my heart. I highly recommend it, and you will not want to put it down. It is just a magnificent novel.
Oprah

American Dirt is a literary novel with nuanced character development and arresting language; yet, its narrative hurtles forward with the intensity of a suspense tale. Its most profound achievement, though, is something I never couldve been toldAmerican Dirt is the novel that, for me, nails what its like to live in this age of anxiety, where it feels like anything can happen, at any moment.
Maureen Corrigan, NPRs Fresh Air

This tense, illuminating novel takes off like a rocket
People (Book of the Week)

This novel is a heart-stopping story of survival, danger, and love
The New York Times

I devoured the novel in a dry-eyed adrenaline rush.A profoundly moving reading experience.
The Washington Post

A heart-pounding, page-turning, cant-put-it-down, stay-up-till-3 a.m., adrenaline-pumping storythat examines, with sensitivity, care, and complexity of thought, immense, soul-obliterating trauma and its aftermath.
Los Angeles Times

The story is masterfully composed of timeless elements: the nightmare logic of grief, the value of human kindness, the power of love to drive us to do the unimaginableCummins proves that fiction can be a vehicle for expanding our empathy.
Time

Destined to be a classic.
Womans Day

Heartfelt and hopeful, American Dirt is a novel for our times. Thrilling, epic, and unforgettable.
Esquire

Stunningremarkable.A novel as of the zeitgeist as any, American Dirt is also an account of love on the run that will never lose steam.
Vogue

This one will tug at your heartstrings.
Marie Claire

The very best novel Ive read about immigrants (and the best novel Ive read over the past year).American Dirt is being compared to The Grapes of Wrath, and the comparison is apt.
San Francisco Chronicle

Pulse-pounding.
Chicago Tribune

"As literature, American Dirt is modern realism at its finest: a tale of moral challenge in the spirit of Theodore Dreiser wrapped inside a big-hearted social epic like The Grapes of Wrath. American Dirt is going to be the defining book of 2020.
New York Journal of Books

Propulsive.
Elle

I strive to write page-turners because I love to read them, and its been a long time since I turned pages as fast as I did with American Dirt. Its plot is tight, smart, and unpredictable. Its message is important and timely, but not political. Its characters are violent, compassionate, sadistic, fragile, and heroic. It is rich in authenticity. Its journey is a testament to the power of fear and hope and belief that there are more good people than bad.
John Grisham

American Dirt is both a moral compass and a riveting read. I couldnt put it down. Ill never stop thinking about it.
Ann Patchett, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Dutch House and Commonwealth

Why do we read fiction? By immersing ourselves in the lives of fictional characters we gain emotional depth, breadth, and empathy. We become more human. I have never felt more changedor challengedby a book than I have by American Dirt. Its truly a revelation.
Elin Hilderbrand, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Summer of 69

Relevant, powerful, extraordinary. It is a remarkable combination of joy and terror, infused always with the restorative power of a mother's love and the endless human capacity for hope. I hope everyone reads it and is as moved by it as I was.
Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone

Riveting, timely, a dazzling accomplishment. Jeanine Cummins makes us all LIVE and BREATHE the refugee story.
Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies

American Dirt is an extraordinary piece of work, a perfect balancing act with terror on one side and love on the other. I defy anyone to read the first seven pages of this book and not finish it. The prose is immaculate, and the story never lets up. This book will be an important voice in the discussion about immigration and los migrantes; it certainly puts the lie to the idea that we are being besieged by bad hombres. On a micro scalethe story scale, where I like to liveits one hell of a novel about a good woman on the run with her beautiful boy. Its marvelous.
Stephen King

From its heart-stopping first sentence to its heart-shattering last, Cumminss story of immigrants is just what we need now. Gritty yet sensitive, realistic yet hopeful, grand and granular, American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins is a Grapes of Wrathfor our times.
Don Winslow, author of the New York Times bestseller The Border

The most gripping thriller youll read this side of Marathon Man. This thing goes harder than a Lee Child novel and the writing sings. Deserves to be a Gone Girl-level hit.
Joe Hill, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman and Heart-Shaped Box

Jeanine Cummins writes with such grace, compassion, and precision that I could not stop reading.
Erika Snchez, author of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

This is a book thats both hard to read and hard to put down and will no doubt spark a lot of conversation.
Real Simple

Time to sink into American Dirt.
Entertainment Weekly

This book is not simply the great American novel; its the great novel of las Americas. Its the great world novel! This is the international story of our times. Masterful.
Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street

American Dirt is an urgent, blistering, unforgettable book. In her portrayal of Lydia and Luca, a mother and son forced to leave their Mexican home, Jeanine Cummins has given face to migrants everywhere who flee violence and near-certain death in search of only one thing: a chance at life. Beautifully written, thrilling in its propulsive force, American Dirt is a new American classic.
Tara Conklin, author of the New York Times bestseller The Last Romantics

The story of the migrant is the story of our times, and Jeanine Cummins is a worthy chronicler. At once intimate and epic, American Dirt is an exhilarating and beautiful book about parental love and human hope.
Rumaan Alam, author of That Kind of Mother and Rich and Pretty

Urgent and unforgettable, American Dirt leaps the borders of the page and demands attention, especially now.
Sarah Blake, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Postmistress and The Guest Book

A powerful, moving, and unforgettable read.
Reyna Grande, author of The Distance Between Us

This extraordinary novel about unbreakable determination will move the reader to the core.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Lydia and Luca are utterly believable characters, and their breathtaking journey moves with the velocity and power of one of those freight trains. Intensely suspenseful and deeply humane, this novel makes migrants seeking to cross the southern U.S. border indelibly individual.
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

American Dirt may be the dont-miss book of 2020.
Booklist (starred review)

Cummins is a skilled and empathetic chronicler of trauma and its aftermathAmerican Dirt is an immersive story, fueled by the elemental love of a mother for her son.
Minnesota Star Tribune

This gripping story of a mother and son on Mexicos migrant trail combines humane intentions with propulsive, action-movie execution.
The Guardian

This is a book everyone should read.
Woman & Home

This powerful new novel promises readers a ride theyll never forget.
She Reads



Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250209764
ISBN-10: 1250209765
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: January 21st, 2020
Pages: 400