59 pages 1 hour read

Jeanine Cummins

American Dirt

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2020

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Character Analysis

Lydia Quixano Pérez

Lydia is a novel’s 32-year-old protagonist. She is a bookstore owner and the wife of Sebastián, with whom she shares a son, Luca. Despite being a happily married wife and mother with a satisfying career, Lydia is flattered when Javier flirts with her. She initially feels guilty, but eventually joins in the playful banter. Her friendship with Javier is so satisfying intellectually and emotionally that she repeatedly claims to love him, though she denies being in love with him when Sebastián poses the question. Lydia’s feelings for Javier shift after he has her family killed, at which point he becomes a source of fear. During their last conversation, Lydia’s hatred for Javier eclipses all other emotions, even the love she has for her late-husband and son.

Lydia loves her family deeply and is devasted by their murder at the hands of the cartel. She is particularly heartbroken by the loss of Sebastián, as evidenced by her reaction when she retrieves the car keys from his corpse: “She claps a hand over her mouth because she has a feeling the essential part of herself might fall out […] She understands now that it wasn’t the body but the way he animated it that had thrilled her” (12).

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Related Titles

By Jeanine Cummins