Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bonsái ” as Want to Read:
Bonsái
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bonsái

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  2,053 ratings  ·  217 reviews
Condenado a la seriedad y a la impostura, Julio, el silencioso protagonista de este libro, acaba convenciéndose de que es mejor encerrarse en su cuarto a observar el crecimiento de un bonsái que vagar por los incómodos caminos de la literatura. Es ésta, como dice el narrador, «una historia liviana que se pone pesada», un relato elíptico y vertiginoso marcado por la inquiet ...more
Paperback, 95 pages
Published July 30th 2014 (first published 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
s.penkevich
Dec 04, 2014 s.penkevich rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: literary foreplay
Recommended to s.penkevich by: Mike Puma
What's the purpose of being with someone if they don't change your life?

There are some books that can be consumed in a singular hour, yet remain within you to be digested by the intellect for days or weeks. Alejandro Zambra’s Bonsai is such a book. The precise simplicity of the novel makes it a difficult book to talk as the novella feels as fragile as an intricately colored moth’s wing—admire its beauty but don’t touch it lest it turn to dust. There is a feeling of weightlessness to the prose
...more
Mike Puma
Dec 28, 2014 Mike Puma rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: you know who you are
Recommended to Mike by: systems in collusion

And better still after the third reading. If anyone is interested in reading this one and needs a copy of Macedonio Fernandez's Tantalia, feel free to give me a shout and I'll email you the 5-page story pronto.

*************************

Even better after the second reading.

The world is of tantalic inspiration.
So begins Macedonio Fernandez’s fantastic story Tantalia. Zambra makes reference to it. I encourage readers to get a copy and read it—bizarre and an incredible complement to this novella (c
...more
Lynne King
A bonsai has to be nurtured and truly loved or else it will die; likewise, unless one does the same thing with human love, that will also die.

This is a philosophical, thought provoking novella (so I have a tautology here but I like it even though it’s extraneous as it adds necessary substance to the wording) and I was charmed and delighted by it all.

This is not really a novella but a short story and it can be read in little more than an hour. Nevertheless, in spite of its brevity, it runs the ga
...more
karen
this is mighty short but very nice. there are some really prettily-written moments within. not life-changing, but a good half hour read.
Stephen
More of a short story than a novella, but who would spend $13 on a short story? I probably would.

In any event, the story's first paragraph is enough to pull even the most reluctant reader in. How's this for a promise?

"In the end she dies and he remains alone, although in truth he was alone some years before her death, Emilia's death. Let's say that she is called or was called Emilia and that he is called, was called, and continues to be called Julio. Julio and Emilia. In the end Emilia dies and
...more
Wiebke (1book1review)
OMG I loved this book. It was a total cover buy and I read the German translation. I really couldn't put it down!

The way the author talks about and describes the characters is so great, not to serious but loving and the same time. The story about love and loss and the connection between sex and literature is heartbreaking and true.

I can only recommend this to anyone.
jeremy
for a slim novella, bonsai sure has attracted considerable attention. penned by a thirty-something chilean poet, the brief work was awarded the 2006 chilean critics award for best novel of the year. despite its wide accolades, it is also not without its share of ardent detractors. unsurprisingly, one would be hard pressed to find a single review that does not in some way compare or contrast zambra to his late countryman roberto bolaño. other than a motherland, however, there seems to be no conne ...more
Bárbara Cáceres Ch.
El libro se resume en el primer párrafo de éste que es una suerte de teoría de lo escrito y de la literatura. Ese párrafo es especialmente bueno, tanto que podría ser lo único que alguien quisiera leer del libro. El resto es el detalle, la literatura, como dice Zambra, y está muy bien escrito y relatado. Pero el final me pareció decepcionante. Quizás el autor simplemente relata lo que le pasa al personaje. Si fuera una historia real, quizás así fue como ocurrió. Pero creo que el beneficio del es ...more
Juan-Pablo
A book about a book, ultimately unconvincing.

When Cervantes wrote Don Quijote, one of his aims was to attack a certain kind of literature of his day. He plotted the story with a character that reads too much, becomes crazy, and subsequently imagines he is part of one of these books himself. Don Quijote is in a sense a book about books. Jumping several centuries ahead, modern Latin American writers are obsessed with the thematic of writers within their novels, with variable outcomes. The big succ
...more
Wanda Brenni
Serendipity, I love it. I'm in the middle of slowly reading Proust's Guermantes Way when by chance I watch a Chilean movie that circles round Proust in many ways but I couldn't fully understand it without subtitles. I watched it several times but just as with Proust, I would fall asleep even though fastinated. The own concept of the story intregued me so much that in the end, I just had to buy the book. I now understand the movie and I loved the book. Nothing more than a short story of 51 pages. ...more
Carlos Bennett
No se si esto alcanza a calificar como novella. Más bien, yo diria directamente que es simplemente un cuento. Leerlo toma cerca de media hora.

"Bonsai" cuenta de manera algo disgregada algunos acontecimientos en las vida de dos jovenes chilenos, durante los estudios de literatura en la universidad y un poco después. La mayor parte transcurre en Santiago, unas pocas partes en Madrid. Desde el primer parrafo del libro nos cuentan que la mujer, Emilia, morirá joven, y que ahí se acaba la historia.

Lo
...more
☪Poppet
No quiero ponerle estrellitas a este libro ya que al rededor de la mitad había cosas que no entendía y además que traté de leérmelo lo más rápido posible, ya que, hoy tengo la prueba de esto. La verdad es que no sentí casi nada con la narración y creo que la forma en la que Zambra escribió esta "novela" fue un poco desordenado.
Bruna Prior
Através de um humor cínico Alejandro Zambra nos conta a história de amor (?) de Julio e Emília, da construção da intimidade do casal à sua separação. A relação dos dois, embora não ausente de paixão, é menos relevante do que a simplicidade com que se dá seu rompimento e continuação da vida dos personagens - a questão é a vida que segue e o tempo comprimido e podado nas poucas páginas do romance. Cada palavra é precisa e necessária, mas sem ser estéril e áspera, a narrativa é impressionante e dif ...more
lisa
I was debating back and forth reading this in English or in Spanish. I read it in English, in the end. On a plane. In an hor or three. It was, in fact, a great plane read. I read a review of it in The Nation and knew it was for me, especially when the reviewer said something about Zambra being the sort of "anti-Bolaño" or something. It's not that I hate Bolaño. In fact, I have NEVER read ANY of his novels. It's just that everyone loves him so much that I can't bring myself to read him, sort of t ...more
Jorge Gómez
En síntesis (Y lo escribo al principio, ya que los otros párrafos son la mera explicación de esto), deteste los recursos literarios que se utilizan no me parecieron frescos e innovadores además de aportar a la historia, sino que me parecieron cargas innecesarias que no aportaban más que tinta al libro, por otro lado, los hechos narrados me encantaron, pero yo habría eliminado varios párrafos del libro como para poder deleitarme con la historia y no leer nombres de autores que no conducen a nada ...more
Michael
Cuatro por dos motivos: uno, es un libro cortisimo (o un cuento larguisimo). Dos: lo lei en ingles y me gusto (Paula se equivoco al comprarlo -jamas hubiera comprado uno en ingles, porque ella era, o es, espanola, pero se equivoco en Amazon y no tuvo tiempo de devolverlo-). Intuyo que en castellano -el idioma original- es todavia mejor, esta en mi lista de pendientes por comprar en mi proxima visita a Latino America.

Dos ingredientes importantes: literatura y sexo (o la relacion entre un hombre
...more
Jigar Brahmbhatt
It's a love story. That much is clear. Of doomed lovers? I am not sure. They are kept at arm's length, their psyches not at all accessible to the reader. What you can be sure of is that they loved...or rather liked one another. The narration is more a strict dissection of a relationship. In fact, it is the dissection of the way a love story should be narrated. No, its a dissection of the way "this" story, which could be a possible love story, should be narrated, by a narrator who may be imaginin ...more
Madhuri
It's a short book - and there are some parts of it that are fabulous. Like the way the relationship at the center of the story begins and ends. Long ago, I had someone tell me - if you can see the end, the end is already here. And never have I seen those thoughts mirrored more accurately than here in this slim novel.
I liked the way characters are kept at edge, deemed unimportant to the story. And I like how they still barge in, demanding a larger space, even in such few pages.
Towards the end, th
...more
Joshua
This was pretty flimsy to lay any claim on being a novel. I vastly preferred Ways of Going Home which had a little more heft to it and more developed meta-fictional themes. But really not bad for a book that you can read before breakfast. From reading Zambra it would seem that this sort of short 40 page novel is a common occurrence in Chilean literature but his are the first I have encountered and for now at least get the benefit of the doubt in my mind for being their unique form.
Arlo
“In the end she dies and he remains alone, although in truth he was alone some years before her death, Emilia's death.”-First line of the "story"--lots of white spaces and blank pages within this book. You could sit in the bookstore and read this one in half an hour.
Knowing the end off the bat I suppose brings more meaning to the on goings and imagery. Although the minimalism writing style and imagery is beautiful at times it did not knock me over.
El Avestruz Liado
In the beginning of this book the author resumes the plot as: “In the end she dies and he remains alone. The rest is literature”. Indeed the plot is very thin but the literature is executed with precision and in an innovative form. To be honest, this is (approximately) an hour long lecture so it would be better for the prospective reader to skip the reviews and just go for the book, hence I will leave the review at that.
Tanuj Solanki
An anti-story. Elements of the characters' lives are almost maliciously withheld, and what remains is the suggestion of a story. It also seems to me - after having read 'Ways of Going Home' too - that Zambra has only one story to tell, that of young love, and knowing this limitation, his work is in essence an exercise in never really telling that story.
Sebastian Uribe
Una novela corta en páginas,pero gigante en belleza. Si tengo algo más que decir, trataré de escribirlo en mi blog, por ahora me basta con eso.

17/08/14 Al fin escribí sobre la novela en mi blog: http://unperroromantico.blogspot.com/...
Betina Barrios Ayala
Magníficos juegos de palabras. Aunque presumo ha podido ser un cuento más corto. Lo que importa es Emiliana y Julio, luego los personajes que aparecen se van de la historia. Aunque el autor no hace trampa, desde el principio nos dice en un párrafo la verdad.
Nathaly
Um livro que dialoga com grandes obras, bem escrito, lindo e prazeroso de ler. Vale a pena.
Rafa
Interesante. Me apetece leer algo más de este autor.
Rodrigo Salgado
Hay que hacerse la pregunta por cómo escribir sobre literatura. Aunque esa moda ya acumule polvo. O antes y mejor: hacerse la pregunta por cómo escribir sobre lo que le ocurre a los lectores, a quienes han sido escritos por otros. Con algún grado de certeza, Alejandro Zambra (Santiago, 1975, poeta y crítico, y supongo que no poeta crítico) ha de haberse hecho este cuestionamiento. O muchos otros. Incluido el anterior.
Intuyo otras cuestiones que atañen al problema ya mencionado. Por nombrar el ev
...more
Rafael
Gostei muito de Bonsai, romance de estreia do chileno Alejando Zambra. O livro é um desses exemplos de como é possível usar as possibilidades mais radicais da forma sem transformar um texto em um exercício vazio de conteúdo. Bonsai é um livrinho excepcional, muito bem escrito e extremamente desafiador. Digo desafiador porque o livro traz algumas questões bastante interessantes.

A primeira, estritamente formal, diz respeito aos limites daquilo que pode ser considerado como um romance. Com menos de
...more
María Teresa
No sé si los finales deben ser decepcionantes o no. Al llegar al fin, personalmente, no quedo con decepciones sino, más bien, con preguntas. Es interesante el fenómeno que se da con Zambra, a mi gusto. Leerlo es navegar por un mar de incertidumbres entre si la historia es una novela o un cuento. No quisiera detenerme en este menester, pues no es mi intención establecer una de las dos características a la obra. Creo que más que atarme a una historia, Alejandro me dejó con las preguntas en la boca ...more
Fernanda Ottoni
Um doce com gosto de fel. Esse é o sabor da história de Zambra. Da história, da escrita, do incômodo, do sentimento de pertencimento àquela realidade. A realidade inventada de Zambra poderia ser a minha realidade. A sua. É real. Zambra não tem dó. Posso imaginá-lo escrevendo, incomodamente tranquilo e sóbrio e duro e seco, Assim como também é a vida. É objetivo, direto, não gasta palavras. É impressionantemente conciso com profundidade, amplitude e alcance.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Literary Conference
  • Bad Nature, or With Elvis in Mexico
  • The Museum of Eterna's Novel (The First Good Novel)
  • The Last Interview and Other Conversations
  • Senselessness
  • Beauty Salon
  • My Tender Matador
  • Antipoems: How to Look Better and Feel Great
  • The Pathseeker
  • Altazor, Or, a Voyage in a Parachute: Poem in VII Cantos (1919)
  • Lands of Memory
1267908
Zambra studied at the Instituto Nacional José Miguel Carrera, where he was president of the ALCIN (Academia de Letras Castellanas) and then at the University of Chile (BA in Hispanic Literature), a master in Hispanic Studies (CSIC, Spain) and a PhD in literature at the Universidad Católica. He is a professor of literature at the Universidad Diego Portales. He has collaborated with book critics and ...more
More about Alejandro Zambra...
Ways of Going Home The Private Lives of Trees My Documents Facsímil No leer

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“What's the purpose of being with someone if they don't change your life? She said that, and Julio was present when she said it: that life only had purpose if you found someone who changed it, who destroyed your life.” 30 likes
“¿Qué sentido tiene estar con alguien si no te cambia la vida?
(...)la vida sólo tenía
sentido si encontrabas a alguien que te la cambiara, que destruyera tu vida.”
15 likes
More quotes…