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Book review: Alejandro Zambra’s “Ways of Going Home”

The Hispanic Reader

Ways of Going HomeWays of Going Home (Farrar Straus and Giroux) by Alejandro Zambra is two books in one.

The book begins with an earthquake in 1985 in Maipú, a suburb of Santiago, Chile. The nine-year-old narrator, meets a girl, Claudia, who lives with her uncle and mother. Claudia asks the narrator to spy on her mysterious uncle and report back to him. Then the girl moves away.

The book then switches to a 30-year-old man who is writing that story. He is in the midst of separating from his wife, Eme, who has inspired the story. The narrator also draws from his own life, as the reader can see in his visits to his parents.

Eventually, he gets back to the story, where the narrator has grown up and reunites with Claudia – who reveals her family secrets.

The book is 138 pages, just the right size for a book that has…

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