The Remainder: Book summary and reviews of The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zerán

The Remainder

by Alia Trabucco Zerán

The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zerán X
The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zerán
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2019
    240 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Felipe and Iquela, two young friends in modern day Santiago, live in the legacy of Chile's dictatorship.

Felipe prowls the streets counting dead bodies real and imagined, aspiring to a perfect number that might offer closure. Iquela and Paloma, an old acquaintance from Iquela's childhood, search for a way to reconcile their fragile lives with their parents' violent militant past. The body of Paloma's mother gets lost in transit, sending the three on a pisco-fueled journey up the cordillera as they confront the pain that stretches across generations.

Longlisted for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Zerán's lyrical, surrealistic debut...explores the long shadows of Chile's brutal Pinochet dictatorship...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." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[A] centrifugal story of death, history, and mathematics...Thanatofiction at its best and a debut that leaves the reader wanting more." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A lyrical evocation of Chile's lost generation, trying ever more desperately to escape their parents' political shadow." - Man Booker International Judges

"You could call The Remainder a literary kaleidoscope: look at it one way and you see how the past lays a crippling hand on the generation that follows political catastrophe; shift the focus and you're plunged into a darkly comic road trip with a hungover trio in an empty hearse chasing a lost coffin across the Andes cordillera." - The Spectator (UK)

"A fundamental book about what it means to mourn the past, about the remainders of a history that refuses to be forgotten. This is the debut we all wish we had written. A spirited, brave, urgent book, capable of weaving the political and the poetic." - Carlos Fonseca

"The Remainder controls a remarkable range of registers (it is, by turns, lyrical, elegiac, sensual, funny, tragic). The author, like her characters, is obsessed with words, those 'cracks in language' that house our particular ways of understanding things. This novel is sure to endure." - Edmundo Paz Soldán

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Alia Trabucco Zerán was born in Chile in 1983. She holds an MFA in creative writing in Spanish from New York University and a PhD in Latin American Studies from University College London. La Resta (The Remainder) was chosen by El País as one of its top ten debuts of 2015 and was granted a Best Literary Work Award from the Chilean Council for the Arts. She is also the author of Las homicidas, a non-fiction book about women who kill.

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