OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK
“American Dirt just gutted me, and I didn’t just read this book—I inhabited it....Everything about this book was so extraordinary. It’s 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
“An extraordinary piece of work.” –Stephen King
“A Grapes of Wrath for our times.” –Don Winslow
“This extraordinary novel about unbreakable determination will move the reader to the core.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
For readers of There There but with the emotional punch of The Nightingale, American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.
If it’s only a better life you seek, seek it elsewhere...This path is only for people who have no choice, no other option, only violence and misery behind you. And your journey will grow even more treacherous from here. Everything is working against you. —American Dirt
Lydia Quixano Perez 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 four 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 America, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the thousands of people trying to reach American dirt, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?
American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed when they finish reading it. It is a page-turner, it is a literary achievement, it is filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.
“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 scale—the story scale, where I like to live—it’s one hell of a novel about a good woman on the run with her beautiful boy. It’s marvelous.” —Stephen King
“This book is not simply the great American novel; it’s the great novel of las Americas. It’s the great world novel! This is the international story of our times. Masterful.” ―Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street
“I strive to write page-turners because I love to read them, and it’s 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
“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
“From its heart-stopping first sentence to its heart-shattering last, Cummins’s 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 Wrath for our times.” —Don Winslow, author of the New York Times bestseller The Border
“The most gripping thriller you’ll 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
“American Dirt is both a moral compass and a riveting read. I couldn’t put it down. I’ll 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 changed―or challenged―by a book than I have by American Dirt. It’s truly a revelation.” ―Elin Hilderbrand, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Summer of ’69
“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
“This is a book that’s 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
“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 could’ve been told…American Dirt is the novel that, for me, nails what it’s like to live in this age of anxiety, where it feels like anything can happen, at any moment.” ―Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air
“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, can’t-put-it-down, stay-up-till-3 a.m., adrenaline-pumping story…that 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 unimaginable…Cummins proves that fiction can be a vehicle for expanding our empathy.” ―Time
“Stunning…remarkable….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
- ISBN-13: 9781250209764
- ISBN-10: 1250209765
- Publisher: Flatiron Books
- Publish Date: January 2020
- Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Page Count: 400