American Abductions

American Abductions

Regular price
Sale price
Regular price
Sold out
Unit price
Shipping calculated at checkout.

By Mauro Javier Cárdenas

ISBN: 9781628975185

Publication Date:  5/7/2024


Torrential and dreamlike, Mauro Javier Cárdenas’ novel unfurls into a layered, poignant, and unflinching portrait of how family separations have impacted the minds of Latin American deportees in a technology-bound 21st century.

American Abductions opens in a near-future United States whose omnipresence of data-harvesting and algorithms has enabled the mass incarceration and deportation of Latin Americans—regardless of citizenship. After their father is abducted by immigration officials before their eyes and deported to Colombia, Ada and her sister Eva are left to contend with a United States as all-seeing as it is hostile. Now adults, Ada remains in San Francisco while Eva has joined their father in Colombia, tending him in his ailing health. When his condition worsens, Eva asks Ada to come see them: a nearly impossible feat, given the United States’ restrictions on Latin Americans’ movements. Ada, terribly alone, must come to terms with the violence of American society and the grief of lost community. Exploring the role of technology, mass society, and American expectations on how Latin American deportees should tell their stories, the novel delves into the ties, memories, and lines of code binding communities together.

Mauro Javier Cárdenas has been lauded as one of the most promising Latin American authors, and in American Abductions, his deconstruction of American society and the surveillance state proves his generation-defining acuity and storytelling. The book’s polyphony of mysticism, technology, and philosophy calls to mind the perceptive dystopian visions of Philip K. Dick and the visionary stylistic fluidity of Samuel Delany. The result is a sharp and metaphysical narrative, a masterwork examining the place of Latin Americans in a United States that is always changing.


A Millions Most-Anticipated Book of 2024

Mauro Javier Cárdenas has knocked down the novel as we know it, and built a cathedral out of the debris.” —Carlos Fonseca

“Cárdenas’s narrative engines include oneiric séances, unheralded victims rebaptized as 20th-century Surrealists, a plausible robot named Roberto Bolaño, and lives fractured by trauma, death or computer algorithms …Cárdenas reminds us that Surrealism also had a social ethos, to destabilize ruinous order through art. Similarly, this is what American Abductions offers: the art-polemic as a defiant, befitting medium for our dire times.” —Gina Apostol, The New York Times

"One of the most affecting and inventive English-language novels in recent memory, a playful and experimental narrative about narratives in which the question of who is telling the story — and how they go about doing it — proves the real subject." —Robert Rubsam, The Washington Post

“Cárdenas writes with both playfulness and erudition. The long, looping sentences brim with references to writers and surrealists, as well as with rage and dark humor. His concern is less with individual stories, and more with the effects of fear and trauma on an entire population. A dark, original work.” Kirkus (starred review)

“Mauro Javier Cárdenas can maunder with the best. The syntax in his first novel, The Revolutionaries Try Again (2016), shuttled between telegraphic and garrulous, but his next, Aphasia (2021), sank into pillowy heaps of rhetoric like those in the new American Abductions. … Yet, while his novels to date dazzle with verbal pyrotechnics, they also set off deeper disturbances.” —John Domini, The Brooklyn Rail

“Plagued by data harvesting, constant surveillance, mass deportation, and incarceration, the society at the heart of Cárdenas’s new novel is less speculative dystopia than realist reflection. Channeling Philp K. Dick and Samuel Delany, Cárdenas imagines a society where Latin Americans are systematically expunged. … American Abductions tells a new kind of immigrant story, suffused with mysticism and philosophical rigor.” —Daniella Fishman, The Millions

Biographical Information

Mauro Javier Cárdenas grew up in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and graduated with a degree in Economics from Stanford University. He's the author of Aphasia (FSG, 2020) and The Revolutionaries Try Again (Coffee House Press, 2016). In 2016 he received a Joseph Henry Jackson Award and in 2017 the Hay Festival included him in Bogota 39, a selection of the best young Latin American novelists.