Paromjit's Reviews > Humiliation

Humiliation by Paulina Flores
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it was amazing
bookshelves: literary-fiction, netgalley, short-stories

It is not often a short story collection gets 5 stars from me, but each of these 9 Chilean stories from the award winning Paulina Flores, translated by Megan McDowell, are gems. They paint a picture of Chile and Chilean lives with verve and vitality, the poverty, the precariousness and challenges of life, places where almost everyone is unemployed, disintegrating families, broken marriages and relationships, and where dreams and ambitions are thwarted. Stories are written from the perspectives of children and adults, throwing light on family dynamics, such as mother and daughter relationships, infidelities, and other disturbing and unsettling behaviours. We have a young gang of boys intent on translating The Smiths songs from stolen dictionaries, seeing themselves as having much in common with the original Japanese ninjas, as they set out to train as ninjas with a mission in mind.

A 29 year old father is heading towards an opportunity for a casting audition in Santiago, walking on a scorchingly hot day with his two young daughters, 9 year old Simona and 6 year old Pia, only to find himself humiliated by what happens. A young girl is sent into a library by her father, only to apparently end up lost, a woman ends up going to their apartment for a sexual encounter. In a dilapidated and ugly poor port city, a group of boys plan a daring heist, only for a boy to be completely unaware about what is happening in the family until he is confronted by a wretched and shocking discovery at home. A woman returns home to live with her mother after 4 years of living with a man, she is entirely unprepared when her relationship breaks down and struggling to come to terms with it. A young girl with a tendency to hide under her bed, her father gambles on making it big on the Korean project but fails, she comes to grow up with and get close to her unmarried Aunt Nana, a woman of silence, giving herself to other, only to leave home to focus on herself in a way Aunt Nana never did.

A former waitress meets a old bartender friend to hear a confession. UFO sightings are missing in a unsettlingly disturbing story of Laika. A last summer vacation for a 10 year old boy with his Aunt Veronica and her two daughters, Camila and Javiera, has him opening up to the world of books and reading, and the possibility of another life. His meeting with the posh boy, Lucas, has him committing a betrayal he finds hard to live with. The final story is of a friendship between two girls and a woman drawn towards her neighbours and engaging in voyeurism. This is a fascinating and thought provoking set of stories, and not a single one is a dud. All inevitably dwell on the darker aspects of life, failure, sorrow, sadness, suffering and pain, surviving hard lives, disappointments and humiliation. So brilliant and highly recommended. Many thanks to Oneworld Publications for an ARC.
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Reading Progress

October 28, 2019 – Started Reading
October 28, 2019 – Shelved
October 28, 2019 – Shelved as: literary-fiction
October 28, 2019 – Shelved as: netgalley
October 28, 2019 – Shelved as: short-stories
October 28, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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message 1: by Candi (new) - added it

Candi A magnificent review, Paromjit! This sounds like a fantastic book that is headed straight to my list :)


message 2: by Richard (new)

Richard Sounds like a great collection ......... I’m not that attracted to short stories and need to read more. Maybe this book - great review btw :)


message 3: by Ceecee (new)

Ceecee They sound fantastic Paromjit. Great review 🤗


message 4: by LostKnight (new)

LostKnight Brilliant review.


message 5: by Angela M (new)

Angela M Wonderful review, Paromjit. It’s taken me a long time to warm up to short stories and you have caught my interest with this one.


Paromjit Angela M wrote: "Wonderful review, Paromjit. It’s taken me a long time to warm up to short stories and you have caught my interest with this one."

LostKnight wrote: "Brilliant review."

Ceecee wrote: "They sound fantastic Paromjit. Great review 🤗"

Richard wrote: "Sounds like a great collection ......... I’m not that attracted to short stories and need to read more. Maybe this book - great review btw :)"

Candi wrote: "A magnificent review, Paromjit! This sounds like a fantastic book that is headed straight to my list :)"

I appreciate all the kind comments, Candi, Richard, Ceecee, LostKnight, and Angela.....Candi, hope you enjoy!......many thanks! 💕💕💕


message 7: by Fiona (new) - added it

Fiona MacDonald Another fantastic review Paromjit, I look forward to searching this book out for myself!


Paromjit Fiona wrote: "Another fantastic review Paromjit, I look forward to searching this book out for myself!"

Thank you, Fi......such a interesting collection of stories....looking forward to reading what you think! :)


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