Flatiron Books, publisher of the controversial new novel American Dirt, has cancelled the remainder of author Jeanine Cummins’ book tour after what it called “specific threats to booksellers and the author.” This follows several individual event cancellations.
Cummins received a hefty advance and a big promotional push for American Dirt, which follows a Mexican mother and son fleeing drug cartel violence. Oprah Winfrey picked it for her book club, and prominent authors showered it with praise. But critics have called the book inaccurate and full of harmful stereotypes, and questioned whether Cummins was the right person to tell that story..
…Miller also addressed specific concerns around the promotion of American Dirt, saying “we made serious mistakes in the way we rolled out this book. We should never have claimed that it was a novel that defined the migrant experience; we should not have said that Jeanine’s husband was an undocumented immigrant while not specifying that he was from Ireland. …We can now see how insensitive those and other decisions were, and we regret them.”
Miller said “we wish to listen, learn and do better,” but called for “a two-way dialogue characterized by respect,” saying that “while there are valid criticisms around our promotion of this book that is no excuse for the fact that in some cases there have been threats of physical violence.