Last Sunday, in an election considered historic, the candidate of the left Gabriel boric, emerged from the student riots of a decade ago, was elected president for the next term in the trans-Andean country. After the outbreak of October 2019 and the beginning of the Convention that will draft the new Constitution, this election once again put Chile in the spotlight of the region and the world.
The writers, as seen in networks and in their public appearances, were an active part of the militancy based on the slogan “Chile woke up”. From Let’s read.com, We perform a selection of books by Chilean authors, some contemporary, others classics, as a fan that accompanies the history, present, dreams, memory, culture and resistance of a people.
Literature often provides the opportunity to rethink history in nonlinear ways. Without being, for the most part, novelties, in the light of events, these books are undoubtedly updated and take on new power and meaning.
Facsimile: Exercise Bookby Alejandro Zambra (Eternal cadence)
It could be thought that this book by Alejandro Zambra is a reflection on Education in Chile, the one that from 1967 to 2002 applied a “Verbal Aptitude Test” to enter the university. However, in the voice of the poet and writer, this playful exercise cannot be innocent. Zambra takes us to another world, one perhaps linked to those emotions shared through generations. Thus, what appears to us as a “fungible” book, interweaves, hidden in folds, questions linked to a common past. Are there correct answers? Under the (false) form of multiple-choice exercises, love is reviewed, simulacra-stories are offered about family relationships, the Chilean middle class, the inheritances of the dictatorship. It is, of course, an experimental book (one might think that a writer also plans a future novel in this way). The kind of exercises that crossword builders do. Or an exquisite corpse.
Space invadersby Nona Fernández Silanes (Sixth floor)
Also in a generational key, Nona Fernández writes this novel that oscillates between the world of waking and that of dreams. In a pop key (such as the reference to the arcade video game of the same name) Fernández –writer, playwright, actress– finds herself in the point of view of those children and adolescents who will be involuntary protagonists-witnesses of the horror of the dictatorship. The sinisterness of running into him in the areas of intimacy, family: home, neighborhood, school. Dry, compact, precise, emotional: Fernández’s narration does not give respite. Perhaps, he also has an anticipatory gesture in placing the germ of rebellion within the scope of the School.
To jailby Ricardo Elías (Something Pogo)
Perhaps the greatest merit of Ricardo Elías is his great work with humor. The association of humor and literature is never easy. To jail, he more than succeeds. And another great achievement: a novel that adults and adolescents can read and enjoy alike (I think of Argentina in a narrator like Sergio Olguín, also a possessor of that gift. Also Leo Oyola) The beautiful experience of Ricardo Elías, talking about his novel with some middle-level students from the city of Guadalajara, it was shared a Lemos Experience talk). If we stick to the genres, To Jail is an epic adventure novel: a group of prisoners plan the typical prison escape, digging a tunnel. But in the tunnel they find something that changes the plan and their own lives. This little “prison” novel has, like the best Hollywood comedies, the wisdom to treat its characters (main and secondary) with affection, all the prisoners being quite lovable in the end. Language (Chilean jargon, but also prison jargon, inmate nicknames) is another of the protagonists. Perhaps for this reason, the novel reads fresh and we do not realize the pains (and realities) that this story denounces: the inequality of a people and the always perverse logic of power. This is beyond the prison universe: a world that both parodies and redeems. Someone said that Alex de la Iglesia should take this novel to the cinema, it is a good observation: it would be great to see Lalo Cartagena and his henchmen on the big screen, smiling accomplices at the camera, in a good American shot.
When we were werewolvesby Álvaro Bisama (Editorial El Cuervo)
Edmundo Paz Soldán says that “Álvaro Bisama specializes in a type of marginal character, freak, with his head and heart full of the drives of the most bizarre popular culture, the one in which Tolkien worshipers meet with the cultists of Satanic rites and local myths between Christians and gore ”. Between classic horror and geek power, between reality and fiction, Bisama inscribes himself as a lucid observer of the Latin American present. In a May article of this year published in the Chilean weekly The Clinic, during the elections for the conventional, Bisama narrates a vignette as striking as it is bizarre where, for example, he chases along with the press a “dinosaur” who was going to vote. “Class Z” glasses? But not so long ago the first lady had said that she feared an “alien” invasion! From fiction to reality, reading Bisama offers us a somewhat lysergic journey, yes, but equally wonderful, and never oblivious to the scenarios and vicissitudes of real lives, which he appreciates and knows so well.
For Future Humanityby Gabriela Mistral (La Pollera Editions)
For some time now, and never like in recent years, perhaps many children and young people, when Gabriela Mistral is named, think of the GAM: the cultural center named after the Chilean poet, who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1945 for her poetic work, in addition to being the first Ibero-American woman and the second Latin American person to receive a Nobel Prize. Since October 2019, in addition, the proximity to Plaza Dignidad made the GAM a key landmark in Santiago, where the masses, street art, murals, especially the clash of bodies, were concentrated. But let’s go back to Gabriela. In this book published by the La Pollera label (Chile), unpublished texts and others published in the media are brought together that travel, together with the author, four decades of America and Europe. “Focusing on culture and children, Mistral dissects problems, dictators, rulers, as well as artists and educators, those who are truly doing something for peace, the education of children and future humanity that she was especially concerned about.” How can we not return to them in this present? Photo: Mural by the artist Caiozzama with an image of Negro Matapacos in the GAM (instagram of the author).
Essays burned in Chileby Ariel Dorfman (Godot Editions)
First published in 1978 in Argentina, this book now republished by Godot includes a series of texts that had the privilege of being burned during the Chilean dictatorship, including an extensive introduction to Fidel Castro’s La historia me absolverá, written by Ariel Dorfman; also an introductory essay to the chosen Poems of Ernesto Cardenal, “which could have been plausibly saved from the fire, awaiting the subsequent guillotine”, and a study that was in press in the last issue of the Revista de Educación, “which also it will have passed through the purifying delights of the fire ”, entitled“ Mass media of communication and teaching of literature ”. In turn, it includes two essays written in 1970 on the works of Antonio Skármeta (“Fly?”) And Jorge Edwards (“Dog’s paws are not tranquility for tomorrow”), in which, based on textual analysis the author can outline theories about North American cultural penetration, a theme that runs through all the essays in the book.
Chilean poet, by Alejandro Zambra (Anagram)
Read, applauded, recommended word of mouth, Poeta Chileno was one of the great novels of 2020, elevating Zambra to one of the central figures of current Latin American literature. The story presents Gonzalo, Vicente’s “stepfather”, his story of love and lack of love with Carla, but above all, the story of love and heartbreak with Chilean poetry, whose genealogy is dedicated to constructing, describing and questioning, to starting from scenes, characters, patriarchs, ancestry and descent. The “long novel”, as it is distinguished, in opposition to his other books, more typical of the extensions of a poet, shows a mature Zambra, neither so nostalgic nor so fulfilled, planted comfortable in his present. Written in Mexico (where he has lived for some years), coming and going, stressed, at least symbolically, between narrative and poetry, Poeta Chileno is at the same time a novel of formation, about Chilean identity, about fatherhood, a petition In principle, a declaration of love, a joke. Here, the opportunity to hear it in Zambra’s own voice. A wonderful experience even for those who have already read the novel.
> Go to the interview with Alejandro Zambra in Leamos Experience.
We would love to say thanks to the writer of this article for this remarkable material
Trans-Andean literature: books and authors to accompany the historical moment of Chile