Southern Latitudes

Bruno Lloret, translated by Ellen Jones

Paperback | Mar 2020 | Giramondo Publishing | 9781925818246 | 148pp | 210x148mm | GEN | AUD$26.95, NZD$32.99

'One of the most original books of the year' – Natalia Barbelagua, Revista Intemperie

In a small city perched between the Pacific Ocean and the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, a dying woman relives her childhood and adolescence in vivid detail. In the trance of her sickness, she recalls her reactions to the breakup of her family, the disappearance of her brother, the defection of her mother, her father's conversion to Mormonism — snapshots in which sex, violence, poverty and environmental degradation intersect against the oppressive and ecstatic backdrop of religious belief.

'This world is a desert of crosses,' she remembers her father telling her — and in the visually striking layout of Nancy, crosses in bold make up the very fabric and rhythm of the book. The text is full of Xs, which can be read in many ways: as multiplication symbols, scars, marks on a treasure map — or as signs of erasure, the striking out of reality, the approach of death, like the cancer that threatens Nancy's life and memories.

'A novel that flows naturally and can be read quickly, which is not to say that it's simple – quite the opposite. It toys with existential questions about what it means to be human' — Juvenal Romero Pérez, Revista Lecturas

'[Nancy] uncovers the painful wounds inflicted by belief and by poverty, when life has become a wilderness, a minefield, an act of survival, in which even love and desire are reduced to nothing, witnesses to a happiness as improbable as it is precarious.' — Leonardo Sanhueza