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59 pages 1 hour read

Jeanine Cummins

American Dirt

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2020

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Chapter 4Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 4 Summary

Chapter 4 comprises a series of flashbacks, starting with Lydia and Javier’s first encounter at Lydia’s bookstore. He gallantly holds the door open while she carries a chalkboard sign outside. She is surprised by his book selection, which includes two of the ‘secret treasures’ she scatters among the other titles in her shop. He flirts with her, but she pulls away. When he returns the following week, she is delighted to learn that he enjoyed one of her ‘secret treasures’–a book whose protagonist compulsively jumps off high things. Both Javier and Lydia claim to have this condition, causing their bond to grow. Javier tells Lydia he would have proposed to her “in a different life” (28). She feels guilty because she knows she would have accepted the proposal if the circumstances had been different and she weren't married to Sebastián.

Javier visits the bookshop again later in the week. Two large men loitering outside make Lydia nervous. They are Javier’s bodyguards, but Lydia is blind to that fact. Lydia’s defenses come down when Javier speaks lovingly of his wife and crudely of his mistress. The two become confidants, sharing personal information about their families, including Javier’s daughter, Marta.

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By Jeanine Cummins