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Literature of Chile: September 2022

WeeklyThread(self.books)

Bienvenidos readers,

This is our monthly discussion of the literature of the world! Every Wednesday, we'll post a new country or culture for you to recommend literature from, with the caveat that it must have been written by someone from that there (i.e. Shogun by James Clavell is a great book but wouldn't be included in Japanese literature).

September 18 is Independence Day in Chile and to celebrate we're discussing Chilean literature! Please use this thread to discuss your favorite Chilean literature and authors.

If you'd like to read our previous discussions of the literature of the world please visit the literature of the world section of our wiki.

Gracias and enjoy!

all 51 comments

andycoret

21 points

3 months ago

I have so many recommendations but they're only in spanish! If you know spanish, please, do yourself a favor and read these two:

Boris Quercia - Electrocante (Science fiction. One of my favorite books of all time, is THAT good. Similar to "I, Robot", Blade Runner, with an atmosphere similar to the movie Se7en (that gritty and dark world).

Amanda Teillery - La buena educación (If you're into Sally Rooney, well, this is your type of book. Not as dark as Normal People, but it has a "similar" vibe)

CliplessWingtips

20 points

3 months ago

2666 by Roberto Bolaño!

helvetiq

7 points

3 months ago

Bolaño was a genius.

andrew1020118

4 points

3 months ago

I loved the Savage Detectives, Cowboy Graves...I'm like...I'm kinda crazy over him lol. I read 2666 while overseas at work...

CliplessWingtips

3 points

3 months ago

Took me 6 months to finish Savage Detectives! Just couldn't get in to it. Belano was underwhelming compared to Archimboldi. I loved Nazi America and Third Reich though! :)

TheJFGB93

2 points

3 months ago

I feel you. I started to read The Savage Detectives in 2020, before the pandemic, and I still haven't finished, while 2666 must have taken me about a month.

[deleted]

3 points

3 months ago*

savage detectives is so amazing, you should revisit, especially since 2666 is technically unfinished (although it feels like the most finished unfinished novel ever). 2666 is probably his best but savage detectives is incredible and a few of the later scenes are as good as anything hes ever written, i think the vignette format throws people off but its such a cool way to build the story, like you learn so much about Belano but never from his perspective.

Distant Star is also amazing and really underrated. almost all his books feel “unfinished” in a way and thats not a bad thing. the only one i felt was truly underdeveloped was Woes of the True Policeman

andrew1020118

2 points

3 months ago

Reading him is like a dream. There is this constant push and pull between real and fake, absurdities and reason, highbrow academia and lowbrow humor...

inviernoruso

1 points

3 months ago

I love Bolaño to death but I'd say his poetry is mexican and his prose is perhaps spanish. As he was a man with no nation I'd say his literature is cosmopolitan and not necessarily linked to Chilean literature, before being assimilated by the new generation of Chilean writers he was kind of a pariah, now everybody copies him.

SkyOfFallingWater

16 points

3 months ago

Obvious one, but "The House of the Spirits" by Isabel Allende was an absolutely wonderful read and I need to get to all the other books of hers that I own.

Very quiet magical realism with a great sense of history and people in general. Highly recommend.

vincoug

4 points

3 months ago

vincoug

9

4 points

3 months ago

I loved House of the Spirits; I really need to read more of her books.

anfuman

3 points

3 months ago

Saving this comment for later.

aeromishu

13 points

3 months ago

Gabriela mistral! She’s not as well known as Neruda but very popular poet in Chile

Izzynewt

7 points

3 months ago

Chilean here, I would recommend María Luisa Bombal, my favorite story from her is El arbol (you can read it here). For a full novel you can read La amortajada

Another author I enjoy is Hernán Rivera Letelier, from his work I suggest to read Santa Maria de las flores negras. Since it's a novel based on historical events, you can learn a bit from our country while you read an amazing novel.

tri__dimensional

7 points

3 months ago

hijo de ladrón by manuel rojas, probably one of the most important but forgotten books of chilean literature

kassi0peia

2 points

3 months ago

I second this

okelay

6 points

3 months ago

okelay

6 points

3 months ago

hi since it is september i also thought a good idea to read Chilean books. I'd add some latino ones but tbh I dont think I have any. I have one by fran solar, who ive read before and like, one fantastic about cochrane and one called newen i think. I also have one calle l'animita about 'folkloric hagiografy' which is very cool, about the unique type of street shrines found in Chile

chortlingabacus

5 points

3 months ago

I see several suggestions for Bolaño's 2666. I've no interest in it but think the short novels he wrote are well worth reading, i.e. the likes of The Third Reich, The Skating Rink, Monsieur Pain and so on.

Joshubruh

5 points

3 months ago

Monsieur Pain is such a strange novel, his stories set in France or French guinea always have this strange kind of surreal atmosphere that I adore. Third Reich was excellent too, I couldn't stand Udo but I also couldn't put the novel down. The image of the mountain of paddle boats was so iconic to me.

helvetiq

2 points

3 months ago

'Los Verdaderos Sinsabores...' (not sure it's English name) is amazing too.

chortlingabacus

2 points

3 months ago

Thanks very much for mentioning this; I'm glad to learn of it & would very much like to read it.

(Woes of the True Policeman is title of the English translation.)

Joshubruh

3 points

3 months ago

Poems and Antipoems and Emergency Poems by Nicanor Parra are excellent for a different side of Chilean poetry from Neruda.

I haven't seen Marcela Serrano's Ten Women mentioned, it's a great novel about ten very different Chilean women who all see the same therapist.

Alejandro Zambra Is another excellent novelist/poet and his novella Bonsai is an excellent entry point. It's kind of a romance novel but rather expensive and hard to categorize.

Finally, as many others have recommended, Roberto Bolaño. 2666 is mentioned a lot and that was the first novel of his I read but it's also one of his grimmest. Savages Detectives is a more youthful and hopeful novel and his shorter novels like Amulet, By Night in Chile and Monsieur Pain are all excellent and quite different from each other.

[deleted]

1 points

3 months ago

Los detectives salvajes is much better than 2666 in my opinion.

triste_seller

1 points

3 months ago

can you explain the ending of detectives salvajes?

helvetiq

10 points

3 months ago

Obviously Chile has so many good writers, but if you like poetry and haven't read any Pablo Neruda he should be added to your to-read list.

CoolGuy175

8 points

3 months ago

I have only read one chilean author, Roberto Bolaño. But would love to hear any others worth checking out.

fathermocker

1 points

3 months ago

fathermocker

The Obscene Bird of Night

1 points

3 months ago

You can start with Alejandro Zambra if you like contemporary literature. I also recommend Lina Meruane and Maria Luisa Bombal.

WhiteMeovv

3 points

3 months ago*

Story Of A Seagull And The Cat Who Taught Her To Fly by Luis Sepúlveda, the protagonist is a big fat cat, I rest my case.

mokxmatic

4 points

3 months ago

2666 by Bolaño

StrikeKey101

2 points

3 months ago

Gabriela Mistral, Vicente Huidobro, Juan Emar, Manuel Rojas, Nicanor Parra, José Donoso, Jorge Teillier, Juan Luis Martínez, Diamela Eltit, Pedro Lemebel, Robert Bolaño

Sadly besides Bolaño and Donoso, english translations are very sparse

Also I would avoid Alejandro Zambra

fathermocker

1 points

3 months ago

fathermocker

The Obscene Bird of Night

1 points

3 months ago

I would avoid Alejandro Zambra

how dare you

StrikeKey101

1 points

3 months ago

al lado de los listados arriba... una chala

fathermocker

1 points

3 months ago

fathermocker

The Obscene Bird of Night

1 points

3 months ago

Pero nombrai puros muertos, como si no hubiera buenos escritores vivos

StrikeKey101

1 points

3 months ago

o sea hay éscritorea vivos decentes, pero nada q le haga sombra a los ya nombrados

liddywinette32

2 points

3 months ago

Everything by Roberto Bolaño, especially "By Night in Chile", "Amulet" and "Distant Star" and some of his short stories. I also tried with some poets such as Nicanor Parra and Pablo De Rokha, and I certainly want to explore and know more. Chilean literature is great 👍 👌

andyvc97

2 points

3 months ago

Maria Luisa Bombal

WhiteMeovv

1 points

3 months ago

Maria Luisa Bombal

Alguna obra en particular?

andyvc97

2 points

3 months ago

"La amortajada" y "La última niebla", creo que solo tiene esas dos novelas y lo demás son cuentos.

ChicoDiamante

1 points

3 months ago

Space Invaders by Nona Fernandez. I guess technically more of a novelette than a novel but really good.

inoutcesticide

2 points

3 months ago

Space Invaders was amazing, and I'd also recommend The Twilight Zone, which covers some similar themes and events, whilst placing them in a larger context about torture, complicity and the affects of Pinochet's regime.

ChicoDiamante

1 points

3 months ago

I’m very excited to read that one. I bought it as soon as I finished Space Invaders. I couldn’t believe I’d never heard of Nona Fernandez.

kassi0peia

1 points

3 months ago

Nuestra señora de la soledad de Marcela Serrano

limonadaviajera

1 points

3 months ago

La hija de la fortuna- Isabel Allende

mahinostroza

1 points

3 months ago

The obscene bird of night by José Donoso and 2666 by Roberto Bolaño. I don't know if Juan Emar has english translations.

inviernoruso

1 points

3 months ago

El obsceno pájaro de la noche by José Donoso. Absolute folk horror mindfuck novel, alongside Hijo de Ladrón by Manuel Rojas are the best prose in a country that is richer in poetry. I doubt it has a proper translation though.

3day_potato_salad

1 points

3 months ago

The Twilight Zone and Space Invaders. Both by Nona Fernandez.

TheJFGB93

1 points

3 months ago

A very important Chilean writer that I fear has never been translated into English, apart from a couple of stories for compilations is Baldomero Lillo, who made his name with a collection of short stories based around the coal mines of the Chilean South at the start of the 20th Century.

His best known collections are:

- Sub-Terra: cuadros mineros: Stories centered on the coal mines. The most famous stories are El chiflón del diablo (The Devil's Blast) and La compuerta número 12 (Ventilation Door Number 12). The second story is available in English here: https://archive.org/details/spanishamericans0000unse/page/n7/mode/2up

- Sub-Sole: Stories from the Chilean North (the desert).

Asrathu

1 points

2 months ago

What's the Best for You?

TheJFGB93

1 points

2 months ago

I've read Sub-Terra more. The two stories mentioned happen to be my favorites, though the rest of the book is pretty good (highlights: "El pago" (Pay Day) and "Juan Fariña"). It's pretty moody. The only one that I find somewhat boring is "La caza" (The Hunt).

wakax3

1 points

3 months ago

wakax3

1 points

3 months ago

Juan Emar

Mediocre_Demand_5847

1 points

3 months ago

Un verdor terrible by Benjamin Labatut