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The Movies of My Lifeby Alberto Fuguet
Synopses & Reviews
Beltrán Soler is from Chile, a land in constant movement. A seismologist who knows more about the science of tectonic plate movement than about life, he is cocooned in a world of seismic data, scientific articles, and natural disasters. Beltrán believes he can protect himself from the world around him by losing himself to theoretical pursuits, but thousands of feet above the ground he so meticulously analyzes, on a flight to L.A. — the capital of film and the city in which he was raised — he has a conversation that sparks in him a firestorm of nostalgia. Suddenly, Beltrán finds himself recalling the fifty most important movies of his life — films both precious and absurd that affected him during his childhood and adolescence in the 1960s and '70s.
From Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to Close Encounters of the Third Kind to kitschy disaster films such as Earthquake!, as well as cult classics of '70s sci-fi such as Logan's Run, Beltrán connects with his past by remembering the films he saw, the people with whom he saw them, and even the theaters in which they were shown. Recalling one movie after another, he reconstructs the unusual history of his eccentric and dysfunctional family, coming to terms with his obsession with the movies that helped define him — often whether he wanted them to or not.
Set in the oddly parallel worlds of Nixon's suburban California and Pinochet's Santiago de Chile, this ingenious novel throws us into the claustrophobic world of an adolescent who tries to escape from a tumultuous and fragmented existence, one caught between two languages, two cultures, and two families that watch the same movies. Written in the eloquent, compelling, and often hilarious style that has brought Alberto Fuguet world renown, The Movies of My Life is a book about film and about how movies embed themselves in our souls, helping us all share a blinding fondness for the magic of make-believe.
"An ingenious premise, developed with exemplary warmth and wit: a thoroughly captivating tale." Kirkus Reviews
"In this lucid translation by Ezra E. Fitz, the Chilean writer Alberto Fuguet's novel is an unstable voyage, high on the Richter scale, where nothing is solid and nothing is final." James Polk, The New York Times Book Review
"The setup is stiff...but once Fuguet begins piecing together Beltran's lopsided, bicultural life, the novel speeds along....Despite the rocky start, this is a fresh, notable effort." Publishers Weekly
"Fuguet, an anti-magic realist, creates a thoroughly contemporary coming-of-age tale steeped in sly social analysis, salted with pathos, and leavened with humor." Keir Graff, Booklist
"Fuguet's greatest strength lies in evoking the joys, traumas, fears and hopes of childhood and adolescence, and these, it would seem, transcend any nationality." Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World
"If the device at times feels heavy-handed...it can also be chillingly incisive....[A] modern bildungsroman in which American culture enhances, rather than suffocates, the protagonist's understanding of his native country." The New Yorker
"In the end, the book is certainly fun to read, but it's not particularly insightful....As for Fuguet's much-touted break with magic realism, the result is really nothing different from what was written before magic realism held sway." Library Journal
An epic novel from one of the most creative minds of his generation to emerge from South America, about the power of American pop culture and a seismologist trying to make sense of the shifting world around him.
About the Author
Born in Santiago de Chile, Alberto Fuguet spent his early childhood in California. He is one of the most prominent Latin American authors of his generation and one of the leaders of the literary movement known as McOndo, which proclaims the end of magical realism. He has been a film critic and a police reporter. He lives in Santiago de Chile.
Alberto Fuguet nació en Santiago de Chile, y pasó su infancia en California. Es uno de los autores latinoamericanos más destacados de su generación y uno de los líderes de McOndo, el movimiento literario que proclama el fin del realismo mágico. Ha sido crítico de cine y reportero policial. Vive en Santiago.
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