Happy New Year. I am not a great one for making New Year resolutions, maybe I just don’t have the imagination for setting grand, life-changing targets and I certainly don’t have the fortitude for using an arbitrary deadline to, say, begin the diet I should undertake, or cease imbibing alcohol when I know there’s too many days of holiday living to make do with soda water.
Book-related resolutions are, however, a bit easier. In 2014 I am going to stick with 2013 plan to log every book I read during the year. Not only was it invaluable in doing the end-of-year round-up of my Top Ten books of the year but it is also a wonderful reminder of some of the gems (and not so gem-like) during the year. It always seems ridiculous how
Considering its turbulent modern history, there is surprising little literary work by contemporary Chilean authors, certainly not much that has made it into English translation.
Alejandro Zambra is probably the best known of the new wave of young Chilean writers. His first book, Bonsai, about a young man whose love disappears, won Chile’s Literary Critics Award for best novel and won international critical acclaim. The follow-up, The Private Life of Trees, about a man telling stories to his young daughter while nervously awaiting the return of his wife, saw him selected for Granta’s 2010 list of the Best of Young Spanish-language novelists..
His latest book, Ways of Going Home, was much anticipated. It’s a slim volume that focuses on life in Chile under the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. There are two narrators, both authors, one the literary creation of the other. Neither considers themselves the victims of the regime, nor owners of the story, rather