The afternoon of her niece’s fifteenth birthday party, all Lydia’s worst nightmares come true. As she and her son Luca cower in a bathroom shower stall, the rest of her family is gunned down by members of Acapulco’s most notorious drug cartel, to make an example of her journalist husband. Lydia’s survival instincts kick in immediately, and before the bodies of her family have cooled on the patio, she and Luca are fleeing for their lives. Such is the reach of the cartels, with roadblocks on every highway and the police in their pay, that Lydia quickly realises two things: that they must cross the US/Mexico border as quickly as possible, and that they cannot risk travelling by road. For Lydia and Luca, the most dangerous route is the only route – riding illegally atop the freight trains, known as la bestia, hidden amongst the thousands of migrants who will risk everything in the desperate hope of a new start in the United States. AMERICAN DIRT is the most heartstopping story of a mother and son on the run since Emma Donoghue’s ROOM, a novel that brings an unforgettably human face to the story of the Mexico/US Border.
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