59 pages 1 hour read

Jeanine Cummins

American Dirt

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2020

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Chapter 13Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 13 Summary

Chapter 13 consists of flashbacks describing the eruption of cartel violence in Acapulco. Sebastián recognizes the violence as a sign of war among the cartels and publishes articles to that effect. After a particularly bloody weekend, he pens an article with the grim headline, Acapulco Falls. Lydia accuses Sebastián of being melodramatic, but she silently resents him for putting his work over his family’s safety. Several months later, Lydia is shocked by the murder of a reporter on a street near her bookshop. From that point forward, worrying about Sebastián becomes the norm.

In the present, at the Casa del Migrante in Huehuetoca, Lydia realizes that worrying accomplished nothing: Sebastián still died. She and Luca meet other migrants at breakfast, but Lydia remains guarded. She overhears two Guatemalan women, Julia and Neli, discussing the sexual assault of a 16-year-old Salvadoran girl by Lorenzo the night before. A young indigenous woman named Ixchel joins their table, but Julia and Neli ignore her. The two women continue their discussion, claiming that the Salvadoran girl “struggled, but then seemed resigned” (127) to being raped. Ixchel expresses confusion when she hears the term cuerpomático, referring to the female body as an ATM.

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By Jeanine Cummins