Ways of Going Home
Author: Alejandro Zambra
Translator: Megan McDowell
Original language: Spanish
Published by: Granta, 2013
Growing up in 1980s Chile, a young boy plays hide-and-seek in the suburbs of Santiago while the adults become slowly entangled in the violence of Pinochet’s regime – accomplices and victims of the brutal dictatorship. As the country shudders under authoritarian rule, the boy creates stories to explain the sporadic scenes of violence, the disappearances, and the deafening silence of his parents. Until, on the night of the Santiago earthquake, a mysterious girl named Claudia appears and the boy’s world is changed forever.
Now, as a young man reflecting on the tragedies of his childhood, he must find the courage to confront as an adult what he could not have known as a child, and to untangle Chile’s troubled past. As he struggles to begin a novel which will encompass the clash between innocence and complicity, the boundaries between fiction and reality blur, and Claudia comes back into his life.
'A brief, elegant novel of life and writing after Pinochet'
'Written with startling talent'
New York Times