Chilean Poet: A Novel by Alejandro Zambra


“A tender and funny story about love, family and the peculiar position of being a stepparent…[Chilean Poet] broadens the author’s scope and quite likely his international reputation.” —Los Angeles Times

A writer of “startling talent” (New York Times Book Review), Alejandro Zambra returns with his most substantial work yet: a story of fathers and sons, ambition and failure, and what it means to make a family

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After a chance encounter at a Santiago nightclub, aspiring poet Gonzalo reunites with his first love, Carla, now the mother of a six-year-old son, Vicente. Soon the three form a happy sort-of family—a stepfamily, though no such word exists in their language.

Though their ambitions ultimately pull the lovers in different directions, Vicente inherits his ex-stepfather’s love of poetry. When, at eighteen, he meets Pru, an American journalist adrift in Santiago, he encourages her to write about Chilean poets, and her research leads her to an eccentric, dysfunctional community—another kind of family. Will it also lead Vicente and Gonzalo back to each other?

Written with enormous insight, humor, and tenderness, and translated by four-time International Booker Prize nominee Megan McDowell, Chilean Poet is a moving exploration of chosen families, ambition and failure, and what it means to be a man in relationships.

Chilean Poet: A Novel by Alejandro Zambra