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The Remainder
Cover of The Remainder
The Remainder
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Santiago, Chile. The city is covered in ash. Three children of ex-militants are facing a past they can neither remember nor forget. Felipe sees dead bodies on every corner of the city, counting them up in an obsessive quest to square these figures with the official death toll. He is searching for the perfect zero, a life with no remainder. Iquela and Paloma, too, are searching for a way to live on. When the body of Paloma's mother gets lost in transit, the three take a hearse and a bottle of pisco up the cordillera for a road trip with a difference. Intense, intelligent, and extraordinarily sensitive to the shape and weight of words, this remarkable debut presents a new way to count the cost of a pain that stretches across generations.
Santiago, Chile. The city is covered in ash. Three children of ex-militants are facing a past they can neither remember nor forget. Felipe sees dead bodies on every corner of the city, counting them up in an obsessive quest to square these figures with the official death toll. He is searching for the perfect zero, a life with no remainder. Iquela and Paloma, too, are searching for a way to live on. When the body of Paloma's mother gets lost in transit, the three take a hearse and a bottle of pisco up the cordillera for a road trip with a difference. Intense, intelligent, and extraordinarily sensitive to the shape and weight of words, this remarkable debut presents a new way to count the cost of a pain that stretches across generations.
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About the Author-
  • Alia Trabucco Zerán was born in Chile in 1983. She was awarded a Fulbright scholarship for her MFA in Creative Writing in Spanish at New York University and she holds a PhD in Latin American Studies from University College London. La Resta (The Remainder), her debut novel, won the prize for Best Unpublished Literary Work awarded by the Chilean Council for the Arts in 2014, and on publication was chosen by El País as one of its top ten debuts of 2015.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 24, 2019
    Zerán’s lyrical, surrealistic debut, shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, explores the long shadows of Chile’s brutal Pinochet dictatorship. Chapters in the voice of the sensible Iquela alternate with those from the manic yet often insightful viewpoint of her longtime friend Felipe Arrabal. As the novel opens, the two Santiago residents are about 30. Translator Iquela copes with the clinginess of her widowed mother, Consuelo, a former anti-Pinochet activist, while Felipe believes he sees dead bodies everywhere and obsesses over calculations attempting to match their numbers against recorded births. Consuelo’s friend Ingrid dies, leaving a request that her body be repatriated from Germany, her longtime residence, to her Chilean homeland. Ingrid’s daughter, Paloma, arrives safely in Santiago to begin the process, but when an ash storm blanketing Chile diverts the plane carrying the corpse to Argentina, Paloma, Iquela, and Felipe decide to rent a hearse and cross the cordillera to fetch the coffin. Zerán’s indirect treatment of Pinochet and his impact may challenge those unfamiliar with Chilean history, but this allusive quality suits a novel focused on those who experience atrocity secondhand. This novel is vividly rooted in Chile, yet the quests at its heart—to witness and survive suffering, to put an intractable past to rest—are universally resonant.

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    And Other Stories Publishing
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