Natural Disasters

Pablo Simonetti

NOVEL. ALFAGUARA, 2017. 252 PAGES.

The memory of a trip to the south - in the turbulent early seventies in Chile - becomes a key fragment in the construction of Marco's past and identity: it was the only time he ever felt close to his father.

In the present day, having just turned fifty and suffered a mild heart attack, he considers the role the powerful, distant man had in his life as well as his conservative, patriarchal family, the other male figures around him and the difficulties of the period in which he was forced to grow up.

The eruption of the Villarica volcano in late 1971 and other natural disasters consistently come into his mind as harbingers and metaphors for the personal cataclysms he would experience in his life. We are privileged witnesses to Marco's passage from the joys of childhood into the territory of sexuality and all its associated fear and uncertainty and the subsequent rupture of the family order. He experiences the rejection of his world as a catastrophe while that world sees his difference as a tragedy, all while the country cowers under the yoke of dictatorship.

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"There are models for life in play and only the reader, alone with his reading, will be able to judge whether they are valid, if they are beloved, if they are the ones they would choose for themselves."

Claudio Zeiger, Radar,
Página /12, on La soberbia juventud

PUBLISHED BY: Spanish ALFAGUARA

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