Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Book: Kamchatka by Marcelo Figueras

In 1976 Buenos Aires, a ten-year-old boy lives in a world of school lessons and comic books, TV shows and games of Risk—a world in which men have superpowers and boys can conquer the globe on a rectangle of cardboard.

But in his hometown, the military has just seized power, and amid a climate of increasing terror and intimidation, people begin to disappear without a trace. When his mother unexpectedly pulls him and his younger brother from school, she tells him they’re going on an impromptu family trip. But he soon realizes that this will be no ordinary holiday: his parents are known supporters of the opposition, and they are going into hiding.

Holed up in a safe house in the remote hills outside the city, the family assumes new identities. The boy names himself Harry after his hero Houdini, and as tensions rise and the uncertain world around him descends into chaos, he spends his days of exile learning the secrets of escape.

Kamchatka is the portrait of a child forced to square fantasy with a reality in which family, politics, history, and even time itself have become more improbable than any fiction. Told from the points of view of Harry as a grown man and as a boy, Kamchatka is an unforgettable story of courage and sacrifice, the tricks of time and memory, and the fragile yet resilient fabric of childhood.

  • -Short-listed for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize
  • “Subtle . . . Brilliantly observed, heartrending.”—Financial Times
  • “Interesting and insightful . . . Engrossing, often funny, and very, very unsettling.”—The Brooklyn Rail
  • “Stark and immediate, more moving because it is presented without sentimentality . . . [Written] with wry comedy . . . the tenderness breaks your heart.”—Booklist
  • “A masterpiece . . . Written in beautiful prose.”—De Telegraaf (Netherlands)
  • “Interesting and insightful . . . Engrossing, often funny, and very, very unsettling.”—The Brooklyn Rail
  • “Figueras writes with power and insight about the ways in which a child uses imagination to make sense of terrifying and baffling reality.”—The Times (UK)
  • “Tender, severe, moving, elegiac.”—El País (Spain) “Brilliant.”—The Independent
  • “This powerful novel brings to life the atmosphere of desperation following Argentina’s military coup of 1976. . . . A richly drawn, moving and memorable novel, a fine tribute to ‘los desaparecidos,’ Argentina’s ‘disappeared’”—Irish Examiner

About the Author

Born in 1962 in Buenos Aires, Marcelo Figueras is an award-winning journalist, screenwriter, and novelist. He has also been a war correspondent and singer. Figueras makes daily contributions to the Spanish-language literary blog, www.elboomeran.com. His books have previously been translated into French, German, Dutch, Polish and Russian; This is his first novel to be published in English.

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