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The Private Lives of Trees

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  2,120 Ratings  ·  223 Reviews
The Private Lives of Trees tells the story of a single night: a young professor of literature named Julián is reading to his step-daughter Daniela and nervously waiting for his wife Verónica to return from her art class. Each night, Julián has been improvising a story about trees to tell Daniela before she goes to sleep, and each Sunday he works on a novel about a man tend ...more
Paperback, 98 pages
Published July 15th 2010 by Open Letter (first published 2007)
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Mar 02, 2012 s.penkevich rated it it was amazing
Recommended to s.penkevich by: Mike Puma
Life is a huge album for creating an instantaneous past with loud and definite colors

Our lives are full of faces that come and go, some disappearing forever from our private stage, while others sometimes check back in and out over time. Each of these faces leaves a mark on us through our collisions of selves, sometimes leaving unconscious marks that can be good or bad, and some leaving scars that we carry forever. Alejandro Zambra’s breathtaking novella, The Private Lives of Trees, examines th
Jul 18, 2012 Kris rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kris by: Mike Puma
This is a gem of a short novel. It opens as a professor and writer, Julián, is telling his stepdaughter Daniela a bedtime story while waiting for his wife Verónica to return from an art class. The bedtime story is a sweet, humorous and quirky story about two trees who are friends. As you read on, you learn that Verónica is later than usual, and as time passes, Julián grows progressively more anxious.

In 98 pages, Zambra uses this simple premise to move into a story which is much more than this fr
May 05, 2013 Brian rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Brian by: Mike Puma
When I travel taking photographs of trees is one of my favorite things to do.

Colorado 2006

Life is a huge album for creating an instantaneous past, with loud and definite colors.

A single tree, a private tree, is a visual anomaly. Without others, they can look...

Maasai Mara 2010

Athens 2009

or even, like they might eat you
Kilkenny 2008

In San Francisco, we even point out a tree in its state of alone-ness
One Tree

Alejandro Zambra's beautiful novella reminds the reader how very much like tr
Mike Puma
Feb 10, 2012 Mike Puma rated it it was amazing

A very brief review of a truly wonderful book.

Sometimes, with experimental fiction, I’m left puzzling over whether my reaction to the book constitutes an experimental success or failure—whether my ‘feelings’ about a title are adequate to the author’s intent (I know, I know)—whether I’ve lived up. With TPLoT, I think I have lived up, or rather, the author compelled me to that place where I can ‘live up.’ The constant, though often subtle, reminders that I’m reading a novel work. A character’s imp

May 23, 2010 Oriana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2010
Hey guess what? I am becoming a writer for the amazing art & culture blog and micropress CCLaP! And I vamped up this very review for my first contribution!


When I found a proof of this little slip of a book, I assumed it was some kind of sampler, or a teaser maybe. But no: it truly is a complete novel(la?), weighing in at 95 pages. And let me just say right away that this is just another way in which the phenomenal Open Letter Press is challenging American readers -- who says a novel has t
Jan 14, 2011 karen rated it really liked it
what is even better than this book??

oriana's review of this book.

her review is what soothed my terror when i realized i did not have enough book left to carry me through both my lunch break AND my subway ride home, and instead of freaking out (much), i calmly carried a copy of this book to the green room and read it on my lunch break, leaving the riveting conclusion of the iron duke for the subway ride home. phew. crisis averted...

since i already own it and it is an open letter publication, and
Μια γλυκιά νουβέλα του Χιλιανού Ζάμπρα, με τόσο όμορφες και ζεστές εικόνες, λεπτομέρειες της καθημερινής ζωής ενός πατριού με την κόρη του. Στην πραγματικότητα είμαι κάπου στο 3.5/5.
sweet jane
Mar 16, 2017 sweet jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Η ζωή είναι ένα πελώριο άλμπουμ όπου φυλάς ένα παρελθόν στιγμιαίο, με χρώματα εκκωφαντικά και παγωμένα"

Η Ιδιωτική Ζωή των δέντρων είναι ένα βιβλίο δίχως αρχή, μέση και τέλος. Όλη η υπόθεση του διαδραματίζεται ουσιαστικά σε ένα βράδυ. Από την αφήγηση δεν λείπουν ούτε οι αναδρομές ούτε οι προλήψεις. Το ύφος είναι φιλικό με έντονα στοιχεία προφορικότητας και ανά διαστήματα θύμιζε παραμύθι, όχι απαραίτητα για μικρά παιδιά.

Πέρα από τις παραπάνω μπούρδες που θυμίζουν ανάλυση λογοτεχνίας Λυκείου, το
Lynne King
May 09, 2013 Lynne King rated it really liked it
I read this somewhat surprising novella when I was on a plane the other week, way above the clouds and my mind was full of celestial thoughts as a result of that.

It’s interesting how such a simple story of ninety-eight pages, covering an evening with an individual, can sustain one’s interest from the beginning until the end, and all in one sitting.

Here we have Julián, a somewhat hesitant person, a professor of literature and an author on Sundays (why not Saturday?), telling a bedtime story to hi
Apr 16, 2017 Sofia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Η μνήμη δεν είναι καταφύγιο. Μένει ένα ασυνάρτητο ψέλλισμα ονομάτων δρόμων που δεν υπάρχουν πια". Η ιστορία της Ιδιωτικής ζωής των δέντρων είναι ένα τέτοιο ψέλλισμα ιστοριών που ξεπετιούνται με αφορμή την εξαφάνιση της Βερόνικα. Ένα βιβλίο που πρέπει, κατα την γνώμη μου, να διαβαστεί νύχτα για να ταυτιστείς πιο εύκολα με τον αφηγητή. Γιατί μόνο τότε το μυαλό διασχίζει συνειρμικά δρόμους του παρελθόντος και διασταυρώνεται με αυτόυς του παρόντος.Γιατί την νύχτα οι σκέψεις και οι αναμνήσεις γιγαντ ...more
Aug 20, 2012 Fionnuala rated it it was ok
My star rating is not a judgement of the quality of Zambra's writing, only of my reaction to it.
Before I write a review, I try to tune into the echoes from the book that remain in my consciousness in order to pin down how it has made me feel and how the reading of it has intersected with my own life. Usually a lot of ideas occur to me fairly quickly and then the review is up and away.
I’ve been very patient since finishing The Private Life of Trees. I’ve tried listening for the echoes but they ar
Mar 14, 2017 Homer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Τόσο όμορφα γραμμένο, σαν ένα μικρό ακατέργαστο διαμάντι, να δημιουργεί εικόνες από το τίποτα : ένα άδειο σπίτι, δύο δέντρα να μιλάνε, μια συζήτηση πατριού-κόρης στη βροχή, ένα ρυάκι, μία τούρτα με τρεις κρέμες, ένα στήσιμο πρωινού σαν να έφυγε κάποιος ξαφνικά.
Αλλά τελικά δεν μου αρκούν (μόνο) οι εικόνες, θέλω ιστορίες : με αρχή, μέση, τέλος. Με την αριστοτελική λογική, με την αμερικάνικη συνταγή. Δεν θέλω απαραίτητα το "έζησαν και αυτοί καλύτερα", θέλω ένα κάποιο τέλος στην ιστορία, με τα ενδιά
Feb 17, 2017 Laila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: story
Kısacık bir kitap, kısacık ama karakterlerin yasam alanına misafir olduğunuzu hissettiren cinsten, şöyle ki Daniela'yı kendi kurduğu ağaçlı masallarla uyutan babanın yaşamının hikayeciği. Olaylar arasında boşluklar var, ben bunu kendi hayal gücümle doldurmayı tercih ettim.

Ve Bonzai olan satırları çok sevdim...
Marc Kozak
Mar 18, 2011 Marc Kozak rated it really liked it
Recommended to Marc by: The Millions
I sometimes think about a girlfriend I had in college, and think it's strange that the most memorable thing about our year together was that I don't remember the relationship anymore. By all accounts, it was a good relationship -- there was no drama, we had fun together, I may have even been in love with her at the time. But here I am, not even ten years later, and I can't quite piece together what she looks like in my mind. I can't recall what we talked about, where we liked to go, the kinds of ...more
Aug 22, 2012 Gloria rated it really liked it
Take a quirky, somewhat self-absorbed, lovable character from a Steve Martin novel ...

throw in the emotional frailty of Paolo Giordano ...

wrap it up in the poetry of Italo Calvino ...

and you have this wonderful, thought-provoking little novella-- which compels you to read it in one sitting.
Thodoris Fotoglou
⭐⭐1/2 ...more
Victoria Mars
Disfruté mucho más Bonsái que este libro. Aunque con dos terminé con la sensación de haber leído literatura japonesa. Debe ser por ese dejo de misterio y nostalgia con ambientes minimalistas que abunda en las obras que he leído de Zambra.
Sep 09, 2015 Arzu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman
zambra'nın en çok, yakın bi' arkadaşı ile konuşurmuş gibi yazmasını sevdim sanırım..

eve dönmenin yolları kadar olmasa da, bu kitap da kısa ve çarpıcı..

biraz nefes almak, sakin sakin anlatan bi' arkadaşla vakit geçirmek isterseniz aklınızda olsun..
Sep 09, 2012 Jonfaith rated it really liked it
50 Thoughts on The Private Lives of Trees.
This will correspond or not with the experience of reading this stirring novel on a cool, sunny day in late Summer.
1)The novel likely takes place in our Chile.
2) I have never been to Chile. Or South America.
3)Miami is the farthest south I have ever ventured. The farthest East is Beograd, Serbia. North: Uppsala, Sweden. West : San Francisco.
4)While in Miami my wife and i saw her friend from Chile.
5) He's a travel minister for a coast city.
6) While Chile i
Oct 11, 2013 JK added it
Reading this while in state of melancholy induced by a feeling of complete disconnect from anyone and everyone around me perhaps wasn't the best idea.

I can understand the book and what Zambra was saying here, but I just couldn't feel it. This was the wrong time to read this, but fortunately books can be read more than once. This book will live with me and one day I will feel it.
Mar 28, 2011 jess rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2011
I picked this up after I finished Bonsaï. Apparently I enjoy brief novellas from South America? This story takes place in one night (and also in a lifetime), when Julián is puttinghis step-daughter to bed. Her mother is late coming home. Julián is telling a bedtime story, The Private Life of Trees, and worrying about where her mother is. His mind moves into the past while we're waiting for Verónica, and we get a glimpse of his own history and the history of their marriage, and also an idea of th ...more
Το βιβλίο ήταν ΟΚ, διαβάστηκε πολύ γρήγορα και ευχάριστα.
Θα ήθελα να σχολιάσω την εικαστική προσέγγιση που έχουν όλα τα εξώφυλλα των εκδόσεων ΙΚΑΡΟΣ που με κάνουν να θέλω να διαβάσω ό,τι βιβλίο εκδίδουν. Λιτά, όμορφα, χαρακτηριστικά και στολίδι της βιβλιοθήκης μου.

#readathon17 - [10/13]

• Ένα βιβλίο Νοτιοαμερικανού συγγραφέα
Maximiliano Sales
eu e meu dom de ler livros curtos em vários dias
André Caniato
É um livro bastante curto — não chega a 100 páginas — e bem gostoso de ler. Parando para comparar com outro livro do Zambra, acho que gostei mais de Bonsai, mas A vida privada das árvores ainda vale bastante a pena. Alejandro Zambra está aí pra provar que você não precisa de 500 páginas pra contar uma história boa/legal.
Sebastian Uribe
Mar 04, 2014 Sebastian Uribe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Genial. Un espaldarazo a la literatura de tramos cortos y efectiva. Sin desmesura y una tranquilidad que no desespera, Zambra nos brinda una historia que se va desembrollando poco a poco y se comporta por algunas páginas en un espejo del lector. No hay pierde con este autor. Leeré más.
Mateus Bandeira
Feb 16, 2016 Mateus Bandeira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kobo
Eu tô muito apaixonado por esse livro.
Judy Abbott
Çevirisi çok başarılı. Küçücük bir kitap.
Eleni Karantzi
Mar 27, 2017 Eleni Karantzi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Μικρό όσο θα έπρεπε, στομφώδες όσο θα έπρεπε, με αναπάντητα ερωτήματα όσα θα έπρεπε. Το αγάπησα πριν το διαβάσω, από τον τίτλο και το εξώφυλλο του. Δεν θέλει πολλά ο άνθρωπος για να αγαπήσει ένα βιβλίο. ❤
Thomas Stavrou
Mar 12, 2017 Thomas Stavrou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readathlon-17
#readathon17 [6/13] ~ [ένα βιβλίο Νοτιοαμερικανού συγγραφέα]
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Literatura Chilena: Lectura conjunta: "La vida privada de los árboles" 2 30 Jan 03, 2013 11:20AM  
  • The Museum of Eterna's Novel (The First Good Novel)
  • How I Became a Nun
  • Senselessness
  • The Armies
  • My Tender Matador
  • Amulet
  • Beauty Salon
  • Bad Nature, or With Elvis in Mexico
  • Los ingrávidos
  • The Cardboard House
  • El sur
  • Three Trapped Tigers
  • Altazor, Or, a Voyage in a Parachute: Poem in VII Cantos (1919)
  • Poemas y antipoemas
  • The African Shore
  • Lands of Memory
Alejandro Zambra is a Chilean writer. He is the author of Bonsai, The Private Lives of Trees, Ways of Going Home, My Documents and Multiple Choice. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Granta, Harper's, Zoetrope, and McSweeney’s, among other places.
More about Alejandro Zambra...

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“Se ama para dejar de amar y se deja de amar para empezar a amar a otros, o para quedarse solos, por un rato o para siempre. Ese es el dogma. El único dogma.” 19 likes
“Pero quién no es, de vez en cuando, una mancha en la vida de alguien” 12 likes
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