The Third Paradise

Cristian Alarcón

NOVEL. PRH, 2022. 264 PAGES.


The 2020 lockdown is looming and the protagonist is tempted to withdraw to his cabin on the outskirts of Buenos Aires to weather the storm. As he waits, he starts to grow a garden full of all manner of plants and flowers. His love of nature encourages him to learn more about the development of scientific practice, the birth of the field of botany and the great adventures of the European expeditions of the 18th century. Meanwhile, he remembers his family, which was torn from its roots in Daglipulli, Chile, by the Pinochet dictatorship.
Little by little, his unusual world finds itself flooded with memories of the humble Dahlias grown by his Grandmother Alba, the vividly lush, threatening jungle of the Amazon encountered by Humboldt in 1799 and the controlled reliability of the hybrids he buys in nurseries. In this paradise in varying states of conservation, the natural landscape of the southern cone becomes a character unto its self with its own rhythms, shaped by the people who have settled within it over the years. History, botany and a family story combine to define the protagonist's character, his life choices and the way he inhabits the world.
This novel is a brilliant story about the everyday life of an individual but also the collective tragedies that threaten us all showing that it's the small, simple things, the personal paradises we build for ourselves, that always save us in the end.


El País. Babelia

El País. Cultura

La Nación. Review

RTVE. Histiorias de papel

RTVE. Las mañanas con Pepa Fernández

El Español. Review

Coolt. Enterview

BBC Mundo. Interview

El Entrevista

El Correo Gallego. Review

El Heraldo de México. Literatura

El Universal. Cultura

Infobae. Leamos

Radio ADN. Entrevista

"This is a novel that ‘opens the door to finding salvation from collective tragedy in the little things. His prose is of great quality; concise, precise and spare, well-suited to his subjects."

Jury statement announcing the Alfaguara Award winner


"History, botany and the family story come together and mark the character of the protagonist, his life choices and his way of being in the world."

Fernando Aramburu


"The story of the protagonist's ancestors, as basically happens with every story in which we decide to immerse ourselves without shame, seems at times so extraordinary that it deserves to be pure invention."

Jose Maria Brindisi, LA NACIÓN


"Cristian Alarcón has been able to narrate like few others in recent decades the violent urban reality of Argentina."

Andrea Aguilar, EL PAÍS


This novel is a rare literary artifact, sustained by a writing resembling a methodical work of landscape gardening.

Domingo Rodenas de Moya, BABELIA, EL PAÍS 


"The narration is full of nuances that enrich the level of the narrated and in its reading we do not fail to perceive more than one beneficial shadow of García Márquez. It is an interesting narrative effort and an original and suggestive novel with a language that reaches expressive fullness."

Luis Alonso Girado, EL CORREO GALLEGO


"Immediately the taste for the language is perceived and the slowness is appreciated. Because his style, which is cut into short sentences, apparently simple, invites you to read calmly. A beautiful novel."

Ascension Rivas, EL ESPAÑOL


Other titles from Cristian Alarcón:

El tercer paraíso
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