Our scheduled February 1 event with Jeanine Cummins, for American Dirt, has been cancelled. This decision was made by the book's publisher, Flatiron Books, which has opted to cancel the remainder of her national tour.
Here amongst the staff at Third Place Books, our feelings about this novel, and about the decision to cancel the tour, are decidedly complicated. We know that many of you feel the same, and we’d like to continue to talk about this in the days and weeks to come. Over the next few days, we’ll be taking to our social media and to the Third Place Blog to discuss the criticism of the book, the work of the writers who raised questions about it, and the conversations that we’ve had internally about these issues. Please keep an eye out.
While Jeanine Cummins will no longer be coming to Seattle, we want the conversations we’ve been having about this novel to continue. Frankly, they’re incredibly important conversations to have. We hope you will join us.
Lydia Quixano Pérez 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 they'll 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 buy--two 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 Lydia's husband's 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 bestia--trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier's reach doesn't 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.