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Austral

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781529422603

Price: £18.99

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“Reminiscent of the best of Bolaño, Borges and Calvino” Guardian

A dazzling novel about the traces we leave, the traces we erase and the traces we seek to rebuild.

In this innovative novel three losses and three quests are pursued. English writer Aliza Abravanel tries, in a battle with aphasia, to finish her book. A last indigenous speaker is confronted with the fading of his culture and language while an anthropologist struggles to prevent it. And through the construction of an esoteric theatre of memory, a survivor of the Guatemalan genocide of the 1970s and ’80s seeks to recover the memories lost after the traumas of war. And behind these three threads lies the narrator’s own story: Julio, a disillusioned university professor, must try to understand and complete his friend Aliza’s novel, and come to terms with a past he shared with her but has blanked for thirty years.

From the Guatemalan wilderness to the high Peruvian Amazon, passing through Nueva Germania, the anti-Semitic commune founded in Paraguay by Nietzsche’s sister, Austral takes us on a long journey south, following a trail of ecological and cultural destruction to excavate contemporary xenophobia.

Translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell

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Reviews

The young Fonseca, who is someone who creates fictions about archives, masks and ruins, that is to say, someone who knows how to create other ways of thinking, and who is also usually a brilliant and obstinate explorer of abysses, has become one of my favourite writers.
Enrique Vila-Matas
He makes his own the voice of the great metaphysicians of postmodern fiction. His Delphic, conspiratorial aura recalls the paranoid brilliance of Don DeLillo, the cosmopolitan dread of Roberto Bolaño and the imaginative elasticity of Ricardo Piglia.
Dustin Illingworth, New York Times Book Review
Fonseca conceives of fiction writing as a Borgesian garden of forking paths
El periodico
The writing is meticulous, precise, nuanced when necessary, always attentive to the novel's changes of pace
El País
A brilliant enquiry into the archive of memory
El mundo