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Ways of Going Home: A Novel by Alejandro…
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Ways of Going Home: A Novel

by Alejandro Zambra

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 25 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
While I think that this book is well written and well constructed, I don't think I felt much of anything at all while reading it. The narrative alternates between a young boy growing up in Chile and the perspective of the author who is writing the story of the young boy. It becomes apparent early on that the two are one in the same. This metafiction isn't as powerful as I would have liked, but it does bring up interesting ideas about coming to terms with our childhoods through writing. I could relate to the way that Zambra describes the feelings of childhood, like a surreal passage of time as a side character, while seeing our parents and other adults as almost mythical beings because of how vibrant and more "real" their lives seem than ours. It even seems that this feeling and state of inconsequential living has never passed for Zambra and this novel is his attempt at separating the child from the man. Interesting novel to a certain point. But as I said before, not emotional at all and therefore, not something that I can really praise or recommend. ( )
  CaitlinPhelps | Mar 7, 2017 |
Ways of Going Home is told from the point of view of a Chilean novelist who grew up during Pinochet's dictatorship. It alternates between excerpts from his novel and what is happening in his real life. The novel within the novel is fairly autobiographical, and by using this structure, Zambra illustrates how using writing can help someone process their past and their present.

I liked that the book wasn't overtly political. The book isn't exactly about Pinochet's dictatorship, but rather about what it is like to be a child in such a turbulent period in Chile's history, the relationship between parents and their children, and how this affects adulthood.

I found the book to be really well written (and/or well translated, I suppose). I can't think of the word to describe his writing. I want to say it was somehow slow and simple, but in a very positive way. I want to say that every paragraph packed a punch (a very gentle punch) far greater than the words contained in the paragraph. I'll just say I liked the writing.

I saw this book at the library, and found the cover appealing and it is short, so I decided to read it for a reading challenge as a book I found at the library by browsing. I didn't vet the book on Goodreads at all and this unusual, as I like to know what I'm getting into. I'm glad I found it, it was a nice, quick read. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 27, 2016 |
(Fiction, Literary, Chilean)

This book showed up in my library inbox in late November because I was trying to complete an unofficial A to Z Reading Challenge using authors’ last names.

Amazon tells me that the book “begins with an earthquake, seen through the eyes of an unnamed nine-year-old boy” in Santiago, Chile. I vaguely remember that, but nothing else.

I plead extreme fatigue. I plead grief. I plead the passage of 2½ years. This may well be “A brilliant novel from ‘the herald of a new wave of Chilean fiction’” but I can’t remember and can’t rate it.
  ParadisePorch | Jul 1, 2016 |
It's great to have read this book at the same time as Ban en Banlieue, another novel where the author struggles to write truthfully about things that are too terrible, or too hidden, to be written about truthfully. This novel succeeds magnificently in turning that contradiction into art. The novel is from the point of view of a novelist trying to make sense of his childhood during the Pinochet years, and to come to terms with the choices that his parents and the other adults in his life made to survive those years.

An excerpt:

I'd spent the afternoon with a group of classmates, and we were exchanging family stories in which death appeared with urgent insistence. Of all those present I was the only one who came from a family with no dead, and that realization filled me with a strange bitterness: my friends had grown up reading the books that their dead parents or siblings left behind in the house. But in my family there were no dead and there were no books.

I come from a family with no dead.
( )
  poingu | Jan 23, 2016 |
So gorgeous. ( )
  beckydj | Feb 18, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alejandro Zambraprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lange, SusanneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McDowell, MeganTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rooy, Luc dePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Silva, DanielaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Now I know how to walk; I can no longer learn to walk. -W. Benjamin
Instead of howling, I write books. -R. Gary
Dedication
FOR ANDREA
First words
ONCE, I GOT LOST.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The writer son of a quiet sympathizer with the Pinochet regime reflects on the progress of his novel, in which an unnamed boy from a Chilean suburb witnesses an earthquake and meets an older girl who asks him to spy on her uncle.

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