The Bird Seller

Hernán Rivera Letelier


The bird seller is the only passenger on the train to get off in Desolación. “The place is so sad, barren and neglected that not even the vultures circle it.” The Longitudinal North train comes to a spluttering halt, as it does every Wednesday. It’s rare for someone to get off at this station, but today the bird man does. His arrival does not go unnoticed; there is the group of girls who gather every week to assess the next lover sure to abandon them, there are the children who stare at him as though he were a tree full of birds, there is the hated head of security who has heard reports of an anarchist roaming the pampas, promoting insurrection. 

“The Desolación office was sad. Sad like its name. It didn’t even have a group of musicians playing tunes on Sunday afternoons like the other saltpetre towns.”


In The Bird Seller, Hernán Rivera Letelier does it again: moving readers with his unique prose, offering a new vision of life in the saltpetre towns. On this occasion he presents us with a group of engaging women, anonymous heroines, Northern women struggling to build a dignified life for themselves and their loved ones. 


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