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Camanchaca

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  448 ratings  ·  57 reviews
La historia parece simple: un muchacho viaja desde Santiago hasta Iquique con su padre y la familia de él, para luego de unos días marchar hacía Tacna, por un tratamiento dental. A medida que los kilómetros avanzan, los años retroceden y el muchacho reconstruye su infancia, las jugarretas con los amigos, la vida de sus padres y la relación a veces obsesiva que tiene con ...more
Paperback, Primera edición, 115 pages
Published October 2009 by La Calabaza del Diablo
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Average rating 3.56  · 
Rating details
 ·  448 ratings  ·  57 reviews


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Geoff
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-fic, read-2019
An aimless, alienated, abused young man dreamily grappling with his family's secrets and lies. I liked that there were not pat answers, no easy solutions.
Ethan
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
So good I had to read it twice!
Tonymess
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short novel Zúñiga’s work is a coming-of-age story undertaken by a young boy, traversing the country with his father;

My father’s first car was a 1971 Ford Fairlane, which my grandfather gave him with he turned fifteen.
His second was a 1985 Honda Accord, lead gray.
His third was a 1990 BMW 850i, navy blue, which he killed my Uncle Neno with.
His fourth is a Ford Ranger, smoke colored, which we are driving across the Atacama Desert. (p1)

So opens this book, a work where you learn so much from being
...more
Alan
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
Interesting account of a Chilean youth and his interactions with his rather strange family.
Phoebe
Bizarre little book. Not bad, but I prefer something that has a higher question-to-answer ratio. Too many whisperings, not enough concrete storytelling.
jeremy
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, translation
the debut novel from chilean author/journalist diego zúñiga, camanchaca is the pensive, meditative tale of a young narrator and his quest to make sense of his family's history, its secrets, and the conflicted moments that arise therefrom. the brevity of zúñiga's style (each page is but a paragraph or two long) lends itself to the infidelity of memory, where life blinks in and out in its import. suggestive of the foggy motif saturating the story, camanchaca resides in the spaces between the ...more
K Todd Ramer
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-paperback
Camanchaca is such a unique read, and I will tell you, my review will reflect that. I bought this novella while searching for boutique pub'd books to give out in a contest. After several hours, I stumbled across Camanchaca.

As a reader, this is a 5 star book. I want to give a 4.5, but I can't as that half star loss is because of me. I don't read Spanish proficiently enough, so I made the choice to read the English translated version (by Megan McDowell). The half star loss would be a result of the
...more
Chris Tutolo
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
A novella worth reading. Its staccato style creates sparse but somehow searing imagery of a twisted life for a young boy growing up in Chile with more questions than answers. Written from the perspective of the boy, we learn of his divided family beginning with the divorce of his parents, the unspoken murder of his uncle, the sudden absense of his cousins, and the time in transit between Iqueque and Santiago, between his mother's and father's house and even, occasionally, his grandfather's ...more
Dree
A very quick read by a Chilean writer. This is more novella than novel, or a long short story, with a page for each "episode".

A 20-year-old man narrates time spent with his mother, his grandfather, his father and his new family, his memories of childhood, his dying dog, and his greatest love/need--food. As his father alternately rejects and welcomes him, as his mother struggles with supporting him, he eats a month's worth of university food coupons in a week. And he acts more like a 15-year-old
...more
Michelle
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, chile
From World Literature Today: "Among this novel’s many merits (which go far beyond the stylistic), Zúñiga has achieved something more: he has depicted, with astonishing perfection, the mediocrity of the Chilean middle class, its simplicity and its emptiness: characters who barely communicate and pass their time watching TV, sleeping, and eating sandwiches wherever they may be; half-brothers who hardly know each other and look at each other with jealousy; families whose only epic, at the end of ...more
Xavier Errard
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it
It is written in an interesting way.
It is short paragraphs and changing subjects often.
It is really quick to read.
I am not what to think about it when I finish reading it but I liked that it made me think, I didn't have the feeling that I loose time on the book.
It might need a second read later to see if I miss something.
Hadyn
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This short book stays with you for a long time. I finished it and immediately re-read it. The writing is spare and each sentence packs a punch. It's dreamy and haunting and and lovely like the Camachaca fog the book is named for and the Atacama desert that serves as a major character in the story. On its face, it's the story of an unnamed young man who joins his absentee father on a roadtrip from Chile to Peru. But it's so much more than that, and the organization of the book flips back and ...more
John
Aug 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Slight, interesting story of a chilean family. While the interactions were interesting, and the writing sparse (in a good way) the storytelling left something to be desired. By the end, I didn't care what had happened or why there were so many loose ends.
Colleen Mertens
Apr 12, 2018 rated it liked it
I read a translation of this book. It follows the teenage son of divorced parents as he struggles to build his own life. It shows how unhealthy ties can poison our minds and can hinder our personal growth and life. The characters in the story are stark and real.
Celeste
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't really get into it. Each page contained little snippets of thought and sometimes they really didn't mean much. I think this would have been more enjoyable as a full novel. I would have liked to have gotten more from the main character instead we don't get much.
B K McIntire
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Young man trying to understand his parent's broken marriage

Young man with some weight and dental problems is passed back and forth between his mother and his dad who has a new wife and son. The death of his Uncle Nemo is never fully explained and underlies much of the drama.
Andrea
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brief, raw, somewhat disturbing. It leaves you wondering if the narrator will be okay.
kasia
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sad, broken sort of story. Flat and affectless, yet somehow evocative. It didn't quite come together for me, but I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it.
Chris
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Finished this one several months back and enjoyed it, but not much stuck with me. Teenage awkwardness, a road trip, and not getting nice school clothes.
Amy (folkpants)
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
A beautiful, sad little story.
Cathy Cole
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm always on the lookout for books set in South America, which is the main reason why I picked up this 128-page novella. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop, but I'll warn you right now that Camanchaca isn't going to be to everyone's taste.

Many of the chapters are only one page or even just one paragraph long, and that fit the story. It reminded me of night travels by car as a child when I would rest my head against the window and wait for the illumination of a street light, then be plunged
...more
Henry
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book, because I’ve liked the other books I’ve read from Coffee House Press, but this one just didn’t do it for me. I think it was just too fractured and sparse to really leave any kind of impact and it just left me cold. I say skip it, and read Valeria Luiselli, who is also published by Coffee House Press
g.lkoa
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Acutely (inadvertetly?) candy-minded ephemeral book; whether there is some real stuff to be absorbed in here, well, it is either all too nanoconsequential I'd just fail to verbalize it, or it completely eludes me.
Some amusing dialogical instances are quite ahemmmm... 'amusing', but only as good as if you're targeting an audience who is mostly experienced in the Sundance's aesthetic penchants (in which case, they'll happen to be particularly amusing). Indeed, it feels like the entire book was an
...more
Donald Quist
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
My review at Publishers Weekly:
https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-...
Zach
Apr 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More of a novella than a novel. A tortured teenager trying to navigate his parents and their histories. His bleeding gums, his food addiction, his avoidance. I love Latin American fiction for its often lovely banality.
Andrew
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i read this on the flight back from L.A., where i bought $120 worth of little books... Liked this; wish it had been a bit longer, though.
Ashley
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A quiet & devastating work of fragmented prose. Full of silences, blank spaces, and desert desert desert. If you've ever seen or know of Atacama, this book matches that landscape.

"He sat still for a moment, as if someone had pressed pause. The frozen image. The desert. The explosion. Play. The man pressed the accelerator again. He made it to Iquique. My family. Everyone driving into the desert. The sound of ambulances. The fire."
Amanda
Mar 31, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked the structure, and also the fact that not all of the secrets were divulged. It was an interesting read for many reasons.
Leah
Jun 27, 2017 added it
Interesting novella about a young man coming to terms with a difficult childhood. Quick read, left me with questions.
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Diego Zúñiga (Iquique, 1987) is a Chilean journalist. He is the author of two novels and the recipient of the Juegos Literarios Gabriela Mistral and the Chilean National Book and Reading Council Award. He lives in Santiago de Chile. In May 2017 he was included in the Bogota 39 list of the best 39 Latin American writers under 40 organized by the Hay Festival every 10 years,
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