Ways of Going Home by Alejandro ZambraReview by Elizabeth Wadell — Published on March 4, Tags: farrar straus and giroux , Latin American literature , postmodern fiction. As Americans, what historical period do we feel most nostalgic for? A time when life seemed easier, like the s? Setting aside our cultural milieu, we can also individually feel nostalgia for whenever it was that we felt young and innocent. I am just a few years younger than the author and grew up in a similarly bland suburb; among my peers I have noticed a similar nostalgia for the music, styles, toys of the period. The difference is, in Chile those same years of childhood were also a period of atrocity.
A Journey in Writing a Novel with a Gospel Message - Going Home Show S1E7
These instances abound: life imitating art, while art reflects back images of life. The Chilean poet and novelist Alejandro Zambra has swiftly become one of my favorite contemporary writers. I read his first two novels in translation in a single afternoon, but their momentum stayed with me for days.
Ways of Going Home
A gentle style—casual, life-affirming, thoughtful, and heartfelt. For a really good time, consider Zambra. Right book, right time—nuff said. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions.
In a summary, most literary careers nowadays — in New York or Zagreb — can look eerily similar. Take, for instance, the case of Alejandro Zambra. Zambra is a Chilean who has so far written three novels. He was born in , and teaches literature at the Diego Portales University in Santiago. His career, in other words, has the usual global vibe. But if you held his novels in your hand, then something much stranger would be immediately apparent. All of them are marked by a uniquely manic brevity.
A brilliant novel from "the herald of a new wave of Chilean fiction" Marcela Valdes, The Nation Alejandro Zambra's Ways of Going Home begins with an earthquake, seen through the eyes of an unnamed nine-year-old boy who lives in an undistinguished middle-class housing development in a suburb of Santiago, Chile. In the second section, the protagonist is the writer of the story begun in the first section. His father is a man of few words who claims to be apolitical but who quietly sympathized—to what degree, the author isn't sure—with the Pinochet regime. His reflections on the progress of the novel and on his own life—which is strikingly similar to the life of his novel's protagonist—expose the raw suture of fiction and reality. Ways of Going Home switches between author and character, past and present, reflecting with melancholy and rage on the history of a nation and on a generation born too late—the generation which, as the author-narrator puts it, learned to read and write while their parents became accomplices or victims. Once, I got lost.
Ways of Going Home
Reader Resources. Born two years after the coup that brought down President Salvador Allende and installed Augusto Pinochet, Zambra writes from the perspective of a generation that was learning to read and write as their parents were becoming victims of, or accomplices to, brutal human rights violations. Ways of Going Home explores this theme by switching between the story of a young boy growing up in the Pinochet years and the story of the writer who is writing the boy's story. How do you understand who you are if you can't trust your memories? How do you find meaning in your life when you feel like a secondary character in the lives of others? Alejandro Zambra's slim novel, Ways of Going Home, asks big questions about a generation that grew up under the brutal dictatorship of Chile's Augusto Pinochet. It was a generation of children who, shielded by their parents, played games and learned to walk and talk and live happily without knowing the reality of what was happening around them.
I nternationally acclaimed Chilean writing about the Pinochet regime has been relatively elusive, with the obvious exception of Isabel Allende. Could this reflect Chile's reticent national temperament? Hungover from a violent past, Chileans have remained a quieter breed than the stereotypical Latin American and conversations about the former dictator continued to be conducted largely in the private sphere for years after his departure. Novels about this phase in Chile's history have been similarly unforthcoming. Until, that is, the new generation of Chilean writers, to which Alejandro Zambra belongs.