In Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions, Valeria Luiselli is not simply asking the questions which are required of her as a volunteer interpreter at the federal immigration court in New York City, she’s examining the how and why of those questions, and what caused them to exist in the first place.
The book is short, and I’m not going to quote it extensively, but I will say that in reading it I began to contemplate the ways in which we valorize the Obama administration, who set many laws in motion that made life harder for refugees fleeing gangs and violence in Central America. These laws made way for the Trump Administration; the latter have basically made it impossible for refugees from Mexico to enter the country, and nearly impossible for those from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, to get into America and into a place where there may be some semblance of safety. Luiselli traces the cause of the violent crises in the Northern Triangle and implicates the United States, specifically the Carter and Reagan administration, in the development of gangs which have overtaken the lives of many innocent people. She makes it clear that the Unites States government is culpable, and asks of the country and her reader; why aren’t we doing more about this?
These are children seeking refuge from violence. They could be our children.
I know that we are all having a hard time absorbing a daily news cycle consisting of bad news, worse news, awful news, and terrifying news, but Luiselli doesn’t leave her reader hanging. She has a lot of hope for the future, and I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who wants not only to be more informed about the details of what’s happening at our southern border, but also wants to read gorgeous sentences that are carefully crafted and allowtheir reader to look inside themselves for the answers to some questions that may arise. What I am asking myself after reading this book is, what can I do? And there are a lot of answers to that question.
Information about the Northern Triangle can be found here.