Chilean Poet | Granta

  • Published: 24/03/2022
  • ISBN: 9781783782888
  • Granta Books
  • 368 pages

Chilean Poet

Alejandro Zambra

Translated by Megan McDowell

Gonzalo is a frustrated would-be poet in a city full of poets; poets lurk in every bookshop, prop up every bar, ready to debate the merits of Teillier and Millan (but never Neruda – beyond the pale). Then, nine years after their bewildering breakup, Gonzalo reunites with his teen sweetheart, Carla, who is now, to his surprise, the mother of a young son, Vicente. Soon they form a happy sort-of family – a stepfamily, though no such word exists in their language.

In time, fate and ambition pull the lovers apart, but when it comes to love and poetry, what will be Gonzalo’s legacy to his not-quite-stepson Vicente? Zambra chronicles with tenderness and insight the everyday moments – absurd, painful, sexy, sweet, profound – that constitute family life in this bold and brilliant new novel.

Erotic and erudite, tender and wise, this novel tumbles through Chilean literary history via an intimate portrait of a young artist's yearnings; it will delight every lover and poet alike.

Preti Taneja

A very funny, warm and beautiful novel

Sheila Heti

His clever irony, his lighthearted yet powerful prose, his gift for capturing this life that passes through and yet still escapes us - everything Zambra has already put into practice in his novellas and short stories explodes with vitality in Chilean Poet. Contemporary, ingenious, magnificent

Samanta Schweblin, author of, Little Eyes

The Author

Alejandro Zambra was born in Santiago, Chile in 1975. He is the author of two books of poems, Bahía Inútil and Mudanza; a collection of essays, No leer; and three novels, Bonsái, which was awarded a Chilean Critics Award for best novel, The Private Lives of Trees, and Ways of Going Home, which was awarded the Altazor Prize, selected by The National Book Council as the best Chilean novel published during 2012, and won an English Pen Award. He was selected as one of Granta‘s Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists and was elected to the Bogotá39 list.

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The Translator

Megan McDowell has translated many of the most important Latin American writers working today, including Samanta Schweblin, Alejandro Zambra, Mariana Enriquez, and Lina Meruane. Her translations have won the English PEN award, the Premio Valle-Inclán, and the Shirley Jackson Prize, and have been short- or long-listed four times for the International Booker Prize, and shortlisted once for the Kirkus Prize. In 2020 she won an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her short story translations have been featured in The New YorkerHarper’sThe Paris ReviewTin HouseMcSweeney’s, and Granta, among others. She lives in Santiago, Chile.

Photograph © Camila Valdés

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From the Same Author

Alejandro Zambra on Granta.com

Essays & Memoir | Granta 159

Blue-Eyed Muggers

Alejandro Zambra

‘At every protest, when it was time to yell at the cops, I remembered my father and felt a turbulent emotion.’

Memoir by Alejandro Zambra on his father and his son.

Fiction | Granta 134

Reading Comprehension: Text No. 2

Alejandro Zambra

‘Which of the following famous phrases best reflects the meaning of the text?’

Essays & Memoir | Granta 134

Searching for Pavese

Alejandro Zambra

‘Something’s gone awry with this article. My intention was to remember, in his birthplace, a writer I admire, and it’s clear that my admiration has waned.’