59 pages 1 hour read

Jeanine Cummins

American Dirt

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2020

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Chapters 9-12Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 9 Summary

Lydia and Luca spend three days at Carlos and Meredith’s house waiting for the missionary shuttle to take them to Mexico City. Lydia reads about La Bestia, the dangerous freight trains used by migrants. She recalls that Luca was a quiet child who did not speak until he was four years old. She remembers reading classics to him and bringing him to work with her at the bookshop. When he finally started speaking, it was to demand a better ending to a book, a request he made using full sentences and perfect syntax. Luca’s silence returns after the massacre. Lydia puts on a brave face for her son, but she suffers from insomnia.

Carlos takes the day off work to drive one of three church vans to Mexico City. Lydia abandons her overnight bag, packing everything they need into the two backpacks. None of the missionaries ask who Lydia and Luca are as Carlos drives them to the capital. Lydia pretends not to speak English when they talk about Christ. One of the missionaries pulls Lydia’s hair into French braids, helping her blend in. The group sings Christian songs until the van reaches a checkpoint manned by two adolescents holding AK-47s.

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Related Titles

By Jeanine Cummins