Ways of Going Home

Ways of Going Home

Book - 2013
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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.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013
Edition: 1st American ed
Description: 139 p. ; 20 cm
ISBN: 9780374286644
Branch Call Number: Zamb


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Jun 21, 2016

Both the writer and his character are grappling with having been children at such a critical time in Chile’s history. Parents were choosing sides, or in the case of the writer’s parents, trying to remain neutral. But as an adult, he must contend with the idea of his father’s neutrality as an act of quiet complicity with the dictatorship. Thought the situation is specific and essentially Chilean, the inter-generational conflict of values is more broadly recognizable. The dictatorship is an essential part of Chilean history and identity, and yet one that the children who grew up under it could not fully engage with until after it was already gone. The result is a ghost that is felt throughout Ways of Going Home.
Full review available at: https://shayshortt.com/2016/06/21/ways-of-going-home/

May 24, 2015

Subtle, complex and interesting; a book about the generation born under Pinochet and how they come to an understanding of the period of their childhood.

Nov 08, 2013

What a curious reminiscence and glimpse of Chilean politics and life. At times the first person ego centricity became irritating, at others compelling...


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Jun 21, 2016

In the suburbs of Santiago, Chile, under the shadow of the Pinochet regime, a nine-year-old boy is asked by his neighbour’s niece to spy on her uncle. This is the beginning of a strange friendship, chronicling clandestine meetings with Claudia so that he can relate Raúl’s comings and goings. From there, the perspective shifts to the author of the novel we read in the first part. The writer is struggling with his manuscript, as well as his recent separation from his wife. Writing and life become intertwined as the author reveals his own childhood, and echoes of his present life begin to slip into the story, which contemplates home, identity, and family.


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Jun 21, 2016

“Raúl was the only person in the neighborhood who lived alone. It was hard for me to understand how someone could live alone. I thought that being alone was a kind of punishment or disease.”

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